Blabbing About Mangos: The HEIGHT of the Season on Ambergris Caye

In India, they write poems about mangos.  They engage in “mango diplomacy” – gifting mangos to friends and relatives and even other countries – an offering of goodwill.

“I do not eat what is made by mere mortals, In the season of Mango, I do not eat sweets” – Urdu poet Munawwar Rana

It is called the King of Fruits – ancient folklore, religious parables, songs and more…all about mangos.

There are countless recipes – from chutneys to pickles to curries for eating every last fruit.  There are endless studies and charts classing and categorizing the hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties and types.

I GET IT.  I TOO WANT TO SING ABOUT MANGOS all day long.  (Perhaps to the tune of Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat Song? Day-O?)

I want to talk about them when I go to town (below are the pics I took yesterday) – ask people how many they’ve eaten today – which types are their favorites.  I want to ask vendors the names of all the different kinds they are selling.  And I do…and…generally…people just shrug.  “They are mangos”.

Hopkins DID start a mango festival 10 years back – and it is sooo fun.  I was there in 2015 (with the Garifuna Collective!) and 2018,

And just a few weeks ago, Channel 7 News had a short story about a young man who categorized 42 types of Belizean mangos for his senior thesis at university – he asked various vendors in the city about the different types.  THIS IS WHAT I LOVE TO HEAR!

But no poems or songs or paintings…

Why Belize…why!   They are just as delicious as they are in India.  I’d argue even MORE delicious because you are eating it in Belize.  Why aren’t we spending the ripe mango season – beginning of June to end of August, just about – waxing lyrical about mangos.  Obsessing!

Green mangos are a favorite treat in April and May – tart and usually eaten with salt and hot pepper.

I think I’ve figured it out.

First… why I obsess about mangos?  That one is easy.  They are exotic and impossibly sweet (one of the world’s sweetest in fact) and the best ones are just a bit tart.  Each type tastes different – the texture can be smooth smooth or hairy.  Hairy means fibrous, you will be picking strings out of your teeth all afternoon.  They can be sweet as honey or have a bit of a bite or even a taste a bit pine-y.  AND I don’t think I tasted a fresh mango until I was an adult.  Ever.  So how could I now be anything else BUT obsessed

I just bought this print on Etsy so I can admire this mango in the non-mango season.  It should be down here JUST in time.

Second:  Why do I think that Belizeans are a bit less obsessed with mangos than Indians?

Because this country has a minuscule population (less than 400,000) especially when compared to India.  (About 1.35 billion)  Mangos are native to India – and have been around for thousands of years but mostly?

India has a population density of 1201 people per sq mile.  Belize?  45 people.

Belizeans are not city folk for the most part – and so many people, most Belizeans, especially those in towns and villages around the country, have easy access to mangos.  Trees in their own yards!  Or if not in your yard, lots right in the neighborhood.  Mangos don’t give one or two fruit at a time – when it rains, it POURS.  A mature tree can produce 200 to 500 mangos ALL AT ONCE!

Why write poems when you have ALL you can eat?

More mangos than anyone knows what to do with.  No need to dream about what your neighbor has…you’ve got them too.  MANGOS!

These are my mango opinions, my mango philosophy.

I just got back from the mainland and they are EVERYWHERE.

Trees in the middle of town are bursting with mangos.  In Hopkins village, I slipped TWICE on mangos laying all over the street.  (FYI:  A mango smashed by a car is just as slippery as any cartoon banana peel.)

Why am I tell you all this?

Mango fruit cup at Kat’s Coffee in Hopkins Village.

Because I am currently even MORE obsessed with mangos.  For San Pedro – I think we are at the PINNACLE of the season.  We are getting my favorite type – the green ones that turn just slightly yellow when ripe.  They are smooth and sweet and perfect.  And only $2bzd each.

Those on the mainland might gasp at that price where they are a dollar at the store or less…and for many, free – but we just don’t have trees here on the island.  Well…there is one mature one on Back Street, San Pedro but the owner told me that it hasn’t given in years.

It all makes me want to 1. eat as many as I possibly can  2. one day, buy a chest freezer to store as many as I can for the non-mango season, and 3.  write poems about mangos.

M is for the…

I won’t even go down that road 🙂

BUT we are trying (once again) to grow mango trees at the camp.  We have 2 grafted trees – along with 3 grafted Hass avocado trees – and 2 grafted Genoa lemons just starting out.

In 10-12 years, if the tropical fruit goddesses are particularly kind to me, we will have our own Garden of Eden.  And I’ll work on my poetry.

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