Mango Musings In Wilton Manors

Being up an hour and a half before Sunrise in summer means Stupid O’clock.

I’m up with the ends of the creatures of the night, walking my dog.

No, seriously.  My body has been waking up at 4:45AM.  My eye opens and stares at the Chumby that serves as an alarm clock or clock radio that someone thankfully put on top of a box saying “Free to a Good Home” and sees it in big 5 inch tall numbers just about every morning.  Sleeping in means after 5 or even 5:30AM.

No idea why.

But the creatures of the night are normally quiet and don’t bother us often as we have the city to ourselves.

Rack, the McNab SuperDog would warn me if anyone were nearby.  He’s way too social and will react either with fear or friendship depending on whether there’s a creepy vibe or not.

One of the last places I passed by on the long walk of 1 3/4 miles is an “empty lot”.  The city bought the lot last year and the eventual plans are to pave it over and put in a parking lot here in paradise.  On the corner is a mango tree.  It is a grand tree, by any definition of the words.  Shading a wide area, it is at least 30 feet tall, and drops one pound plus “Banana Mangoes” on the ground when they tree ripen, or when a good stiff breeze hits the tree.

I know that the tree is due to go because one of the city commissioners is strongly reputed to “hate that tree” and wants it to go.  Strange because that is the commissioner mostly attributed to Green Efforts to improve the environment.  City Governments do not like fruiting or nut trees because all the food that is grown never gets eaten.  Some gets damaged, some falls and breaks the windshields of the Snowbird that was too stupid to park under the tree.  It all has to be picked up and dealt with.   So they put in bland trees that give shade and shelter but no food.

I was thinking about this the other day.  I have a gentleman’s agreement with an apartment building owner a short hop from my house.  This particular place has a massive tree on the corner of the property.  It is a Hagen Mango tree that bares fruit that can reach two pounds each.  Consider what a solid fruit that weighs a Kilogram would do to a head if it struck you falling from 32 feet in the air.

So I go in with my Mango Picking Pole and harvest what I can.

It’s not the best because I can only reach about 20 feet high.   This tree is about 40 feet tall, mature, and quite frankly a beautiful tree in its own right.

However it was not trimmed with picking in mind.  They “elevated” the tree so you can walk under it and allowed it to grow tall.  To allow picking, they would have to lop the top ten feet off the tree.  It would make for a very ugly tree, however the energy of impact of falling fruit would be lessened by not having that extra ten feet to fall.

Each year that I have lived here, I am out there, picking fruit.  Most years I am able to get five buckets of fruit.  This year is a bad harvest.  I managed to only get one bucket of fruit.  The ones there are very large, but few and far between.

To give you an idea, the Mangoes you see in a supermarket are about the size of an orange.  The ones I picked are the size of a large “gift quality” grapefruit.

And of course they are a fixture in my kitchen.  Taking about a month to ripen on the table, I wait until I can cut them with a butter knife.

Never the less, I truly enjoy those things.  Last year I made up enough Mango Jam that I finished the stuff in April.  The flowers for this year’s fruit had just appeared on the tree when I washed out the last jar.

It won’t be quite that much this year, which will be fine.  After all, how many Peanut Butter and Mango Jam sandwiches can you eat?

Oh and the fridge jam tastes much better.  You aren’t changing the flavor of the fruit by cooking.

The recipe you ask is simple:

  • 4 cups Mango Chunks
  • 1 package SureJell
  • Sweeten to taste

Process

  • Add Mango and SureJell to the blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Taste.  If not sweet enough, add sweetener of choice to the blender and reblend.
  • Refrigerate and use promptly, I recommend within 2 to 4 weeks.
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