Its the start of the traditional mango season this year on Grand Cayman. Many trees from West Bay to East End are bearing the ripe fruit for their usual summer run. For our diverse expatriate community you may not realize that it is mango season but it is quite easy to know that it’s the time of the year. There are trucks spread throughout town selling local varieties and stands in Kirk Market piled high of the juicy, delectable fruit and if you are one of the lucky few you may have a tree in your yard.
Locals can enjoy lots of mangoes at good prices. In addition to just eating the fruit people can make also juices, chutneys and jams. The sweet and tangy taste combined with the powerful aroma provides perfect ingredient for those who like to experiment in the kitchen as it can be used in an endless variety of dishes. Mangoes are also good for health as they are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins A – B6 – C – E – K and potassium.
There are many varieties of Mangoes found here in the Cayman Islands. Below you will find a comprehensive buying guide so the next time you pass by the store you can choose the best mango for your purpose.
Mango varieties are subject to availability
This exotic variety has extremely sweet, rich and unique taste. It is very popular in Jamaica as well as in Western India, where it is known as Pairi. To determine when to pick, look for a slight yellow color on bottom of fruit. As the name would suggest, it originated from seeds brought to the island by early immigrants from India, and the fruit and tree are similar in shape, taste and habit to the ‘Paheri’ of India. The fruit range from 12 to 14 oz. and remain a deep green color even when ready to eat. When exposed to the sun they often develop a dull red shoulder. The flesh is a deep orange, melting and juicy with no hint of fiber. The flavor is rich and spicy, reminiscent of the finest of the Indian dessert types. The tree is vigorous, open growing and forms a large, handsome tree. Consistent fruiting under South Florida conditions. The fruit can be cut around the middle, twisted to separate into two halves and eaten with a spoon.
A home garden favorite offering small tree size, disease tolerance and excellent flavor. The flavor is by far the most outstanding feature of this variety. It has absolutely no fiber; Is extremely rich in flavor, sweet, aromatic and a pure pleasure to eat. You will savor every mouthful! Its compact size makes it an excellent dooryard tree that requires minimal care. Lack of color and firmness are the only shortcomings of this superb variety. To determine where to pick, look for a subtle yellow color at its base. Do not let the fruit drop from a tree, or it will bruise since it’s completely fiberless. Many people agree that this is the best tasting mango in existence!
A traditional juice mango selected in Jamaica but not well known away from the Island. Common in markets in Jamaica and other parts of Caribbean. The fruit is oblong, with a smooth greenish to bright yellow skin, red blush on the shoulders, overlaid with large white dots and a heavy wax coating. The deep orange flesh is firm and juicy, with some fiber. Flavor is rich, aromatic, spicy, with distinctive tropical and coconut flavor notes. Very good for fresh juices.
This Indian / Indo-Chinese hybrid fruits consistently every year. It is a Haden seedling, and much like the Haden it is a Florida favorite. It has a very attractive appearance with a mild, sweet flavor. The fruit is virtually fiberless. Excellent eating quality, consistent production, and effortless to grow. It is easy to determine when to pick because the fruit will turn yellow at its base. The fruit are oval to oblong, weighing from 16 to 20 oz with a bright yellow background and a pastel orange-red blush on the shoulders. The deep yellow flesh has no fiber and is soft and silky, with a rich, sweet and aromatic flavor. This is accompanied by a prevalent, sweet aroma. ‘Glenn’ is a favorite in home gardens of Florida because it may be maintained at 10 ft throughout its life with consistent production, disease tolerance and superb eating quality.
‘Julie’ is synonymous with the Caribbean. Selected in Jamaica, the fruit have a flattened oval shape and are small, generally weighing from 6 to 10 oz. This is the most popular variety in Jamaica and many other Caribbean islands because of its rich, sweet, coconut/pineapple-like flavor. To fully enjoy this unique tasting mango, it is best to eat on the same, or next day after it falls from the tree before it gets too ripe. The fruit are greenish to mustard yellow, with a pink blush when exposed to the sun. The deep orange, fiber-free flesh is soft and extremely juicy, with a rich and spicy flavor. The fruit are not stunning specimens, but they certainly have an extraordinary flavor. The fruiting season is from May to July, but unpredictable, with multiple crops throughout the summer.
By far, this is the best all-around late mango. It is very productive, good-flavored, excellent for shipping, and disease resistant. It also has a very long and late season. The largest fruit mature in late July, and the smallest fruit can be left on the tree as late as November. Fruit ripe more evenly when picked green, starting with the largest fruit. Good variety for eating while green and to use for making Indian green mango pickle (achar). The variety has become one of the world’s most outstanding mangos. Excellent eating quality, disease resistance, productivity, and ripening time are some of the features of this four to five pound goliath.
It has an excellent flavor, large size, and very little fiber. Considered by many to be one of the best tasting Florida mangoes. Eat before fruit gets too ripe. The most rewarding attribute is a bountiful late season crop. Late season mango with good color and exceptional flavor, great for drying.
This variety is well-known because it originated in Florida and has been grown here since 1910. It has a good flavor, however, it is slightly fibrous and is succeptable to fungus. If you insist on “old haden” variety, this is it. The flesh has a full sweet flavor, and it is of good eating quality. The fruit is eye catching having a deep yellow base with a crimson blush. The tree is a vigorous large grower with an open rounded canopy. Drawbacks include below average disease resistance and a tendency to have “jelly seed”. A traditional favorite despite disease susceptibility.
Nam Doc Mai
‘Nam Doc Mai’ is a premium cultivar introduced to Florida from Thailand in 1973 where is is one of the most popular varieties. Green to yellow skin, no fiber whatsoever, multiple crops possible. It is hands down the most sought after of the Asian mangos and for good reason. A great feature of this variety is that the branches bloom occasionally at different times, giving you an extended ripening season during the summer. ‘Nam Doc Mai’ is among the best known dessert mangos of Thailand, with an exceptional appearance and eating quality. It can sometimes be found in specialty markets in Japan, Europe, and rarely the United States. The fruit are long, slender and sigmoid, weighing from 12 to 20 oz. The ripe fruit range from a greenish- to canary-yellow, rarely with a reddish blush on the sun-exposed shoulder. The fruit are most often eaten when ripe, when the flesh is soft and juicy, with a sweet and aromatic flavor. Like most Southeast Asian mangos has no fiber. In Thailand and throughout much of Asia, this cultivar encompasses what is most desired in terms of a quality ripe dessert fruit, with a smooth, silky texture and extreme sweetness and bouquet. The fruit are also used while mature green for dipping in sauces and for the making of sweet preserves and pickles. The tree can be pruned to maintain a productive tree of 10 ft or less. It has found a home in the Caribbean, where it grows and fruits well.
This mango is a cross of a Kent and Bombay and inherited the finest features of each variety: the large size and gorgeous yellow/red color of the Kent; and the excellent, exotic flavor of the Bombay. ‘Jakarta’ is a virtually fiberless selection of good eating quality and consistent production. When fully ripe the skin will turn deep orange to red and display numerous white dots. The fruit of this completely fiberless selection is very colorful when ripened. Consistent producer. To determine when to pick, look for yellowing on lower half of fruit.