Mangoes have taken over my life, and that’s just fine.
Dozens are heaped on my counters. My freezer is full of mango chutney and jars of mango jelly. I gave away 50 or 60 yesterday by handing a bag of mangoes to every member of my book club as they left.
My book club menu started with mango daiquiris and ended with Mango Upside Down Cake.
The real revelation, however, was the mango barbecue sauce, which I used on both pulled pork and grilled chicken.
The barbecue sauce has a long history. Twenty years ago I thought I could raise money for the Sun Sentinel Children’s Fund, which was part of my job at the Sun Sentinel at the time, by publishing a mango cookbook. I learned the economics didn’t work, but only after I had commissioned home economist Robyn Kalajian, a dear friend, to test a bunch of recipes I had collected. (Here’s Robyn’s wonderful website The Armenian Kitchen.)
She highly recommended this mango barbecue sauce, commenting it was delicious but didn’t really taste like mangoes. It took me 20 years to try it, but now that I’ve re-discovered it, I’m making jars and jars of it for my freezer.
Robyn’s Mango BBQ Sauce
2 cups finely chopped or mashed ripe mangoes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste (I used three dashes of Cholula for a very mild heat)
Combine all ingredients and simmer 15 or 20 minutes to blend flavors.
Alternately, you can apply the mixture without simmering directly to ribs, chicken or other meats on the grill.
Frozen Mango Daiquiri
I adapted this Mango Daiquiri recipe from Food.com. My key change: I don’t add ice cubes because I didn’t want to water down the intense mango flavor. You can add crushed ice or ice cubes if you prefer. My book club, however, proclaimed this the best thing ever.
6 ounces rum
3 cups cubed half-frozen mangoes (after about two hours in the freezer)
3 limes, juice of
1/4 cup triple sec
1/3 cup sugar
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. (If you want, you can add up to 4 cups ice cubes or 2 cups crushed ice to chill or for a thinner consistency.)
Mango chutney allows me to bring a little mango joy into the rest of the year. My maternal grandmother, Edna Hamilton, canned everything and my mom and her 12 brothers and sisters enjoyed all of their garden’s goodness all year in the jars and jars Grandma Hamilton “put up.” Her basement pantry, stocked with enough fruits and vegetables to last her huge family all winter was perhaps her greatest pride. (And there is no doubt winters in Ladysmith, Wis., were long.)
Despite that tradition and my love of cooking, I have never learned to can. So when it comes to mangoes, I fill my freezer with jars of chutney and plastic bags of frozen mangoes.
Over the years, I have gravitated to this method/recipe for mango chutney.
Bonnie’s Florida Mango Chutney recipe
9 to 11 half-ripe mangoes (firm is better so that pieces of mango survive the simmering; I use mangoes that are at least half green)
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar (more for green mangoes; less for ripe ones)
1 to 1 and 1 /2 cups cider vinegar (in proportion to sugar)
2 cloves garlic
2 onions (I used Vidalia onions this year to good results)
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced fine in the food processor (a chunk of ginger about 3 inches long)
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and minced fine in the food processor (quantity depends on how hot you want it; I use one)
2 cups raisins
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Peel and cut the mangoes into small pieces. Combine everything in a large bowl. Cover and let stand overnight. (It’s fine if you let it stand for 2 hours; I like breaking it up into two days.) The next morning, cover and cook slowly for 90 minutes to 3 hours, stirring from time to time. (I use an electric flying pan.) When done, chutney will be thick, flavors well-combined and all chunks of mango will be tender. Pour into sterile jars and freeze any you won’t use in the next week. (Or do whatever you do to can them!) Makes about 6 pints.
Options: You can add green peppers — lots if you like. Some recipe for chutney with 12 mangoes call for 6 green peppers! I decided I found the green pepper a little overpowering. Some people like to add 1 tablespoon of curry powder and 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Some recipes use more cinnamon (1 tablespoon) and cloves (1 teaspoon.) Some recipes use 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes instead of jalapeno peppers. Others leave out the pepper and go with the milder cinnamon flavors. As you can see, chutney is one of those things you can alter to suit what you have and what you like.
Bonnie’s Mango Coconut Bread
Here’s a recipe I use over and over during mango season. The bread is great, but what drew me to the recipe is that it quickly uses up two cups of mangoes — and the more mango I use up the better. This recipe has no liquid added because of the juicy mangoes. I adapted this recipe from a 1988 mango-recipe contest from the Sun-Sentinel, where I worked for three decades, including a brief stint as food editor. This bread is very moist and freezes beautifully.
2 cups flour (I often use half whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar (Original recipe called for a cup; I am happy with the sweetness using 3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 cups diced ripe mangoes (works fine with puree too)
3/4 cup shredded coconut (optional; I often substitute a half cup raisins instead)
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, let sit for 20 minutes. Pour into a 9-by-5 inch greased, floured loaf pan. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in preheated over, or until cake tester comes out clean. Makes 1 large loaf.
Note: I frequently leave out the nuts. The original recipe called for dates, but I substituted coconut or raisins. I have made this with very juicy ripe cut-up mangoes and with mango puree; I don’t think it would work as well with firm, green or half-green mangoes.