Jamaican Food / Recipes: Mango Time in Jamaica, Green Mangoes

By: Denise N. Fyffe.
Copyright © 2012, defy, Denise N. Fyffe

Its summer time and everyone is gay; especially the children. They are looking forward to summer break from school and days of just lounging, playing and reaping every fruit tree in sight.

In Jamaica, the predominant tree of choice is the mango tree. In every community, you will see a series of homes that have anywhere, up to 3 to 5 various mango trees. There is the ever preferred and coveted East Indian mango tree, which is so sweet doctors definitely recommend that diabetics walk far from this type. Then there is the Julie mango, blacky, common and several others; but these are the most popular ones.

This penchant for mangoes carries on way into adulthood. People would be driving and or walking about their business and if one of those tantalizing morsels is reachable; they will move rock stones, fences and gates to get to them. Common and blacky mangoes are commonly assaulted in such a raid but if the more preferred East Indian mango is reachable, all bets are off. 

Many home owners and dwellers who work away from the home are often perturbed or irate to see their delectable fruit missing when they come home; as they have spent many months watering the tree and watching the fruit come in. So, for this very reason, many home owners will have dogs and not the friendly kind either. These guardians of the mango trees, take their jobs seriously and you risk life and limb if you extend any body part unto that homeowners property. Mind you, any tree limbs extending over the fence and unto the walkway, is fair game.

With all that said, this leads me to my summer adventure with mangoes. Certainly, I too love this time of year and consume large quantities of mangoes. Though I love the varieties mentioned previously, there is one that can get as big as your head and I often sit down and have it as a meal. With a plate and knife cutting through this delectable mango skin; it is a bellyful too.

This summer, I have been over eager for these sweet morsels and recently learned one fact that has eluded me most of my life. Green mangoes cause diarrhea. The kind of diarrhea that shakes the very foundation of your world. This happened to me when I got one of my first East Indian mangoes of the season. I was too eager to cut into and sample this delectable mango, to wait for it to be fully turn. Turn, meaning that it is not fully ripe but just enough to be firm and edible. This particular east indian mango was 30 percent green and 50 percent turn and 20 percent ripe. So, I deemed it ready to eat. Big mistake.

Remember that foundation shaking I was talking about, well in any instance of a quake, earth or otherwise, you move with the speed of flash. After, I had suffered a few aftershocks and seeking comfort from the fetal position like only it can give; my mother being quite amused now decides to bless me with this nugget of mango knowledge. Eating a green mango will cause diarrhea. Now why has she never told me this before; knowing that my preferred mango is closer to green than ripe? Well, my world has been quaked at least twice and it is not an experience I wish to repeat; hence, I am afraid I have been classical conditioned by the green mango to eat more ripened mangoes.

So, what can you take away from this? Well, if you are in Jamaica, stay away from the green mango, eat the ripe ones, beware of dogs and if you are suffering from constipation, just have a small piece of green mango. You will be as right as rain within a few hours. Stay away from work or school for that day and very close to a bathroom. Remove all objects from your path as well. If all our foreign exchange and income generators fail for Jamaica, we can bottle and preserve green mangoes for the international market; it will certainly remedy any constipation issues.


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