It is my pleasure to report that Ecuador produces lots of mangoes. While most of the varieties that are exported to the US come from the Guayas region, the province of Manabi nevertheless boasts an impressive crop. Large evergreen mango trees can be seen along the sides of the road on the drive between Crucita and Portoviejo. Between the months of roughly November and March their long, slender foliage are laden with fruit and roadside stands with crates of mangoes for sale abound.
There are many varieties locally available with peels ranging in color from yellow to red. One of our favorites is a small, yellowish variety called “mango de chupar” (sucking mango). As the name implies, you eat it by sucking out the pulp. You accomplish this by first mushing it up (skin on!) by rolling it around on a hard surface and squeezing it. Then you make a little hole towards the top by peeling/biting away a little piece. From the little hole you suck out the sweet mango goo as you continue squeezing around to direct the goo towards the hole. Yum. Once you’ve gotten as much pulp as you can using this method, you peel off the skin and eat what’s left around the pit. Keep your dental floss handy for this latter part.
I’ve always loved mangoes but never enjoyed the process of prepping them. That all changed one day when a fellow in Costa Rica introduced me and Tom to a super easy, non-messy way to cut up your mango.
Step 1: Cut down either side of the mango pit, creating two mango “boats” (for lack of a better word)
Step 2: Holding one of the halves in your palm, make slices into the pulp to create a grid. **obviously being careful not to cut through the peel and thus your hand**
Step 3: Flip the pulp instead out…Voila! Now you have easy-to-pluck-off mango cubes.
Step 4: Now you just cut away the remaining fruit from around the pit and you’re done!
And the cleanup is easy 🙂
To conclude this little ode to the mango, I have to mention that the mango truck stopped by my house a couple of days ago and I purchased 10 big ol’ juicy mangoes for $1.00! Just another reminder of why I appreciate living here!