Here’s How to Enjoy Mangoes When They’re in Season This Summer
Tips, insight and fun facts to help you make the most of this season.
Photo: Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Chef Lee Anne Wong remembers tasting her first Hawai‘i-grown mango 10 years ago.
She was on the Big Island for the filming on the finale of the second season of Bravo’s Top Chef. (She competed on the first season, then was hired as the show’s supervising culinary producer.) Part of her job was to organize an outdoor farmers market from which the competitors would grab ingredients.
“I liked mangoes [before], but I hadn’t really had a real mango,” says the native New Yorker.
She loves Hawai‘i mangoes so much, they’re always on the menu at Koko Head Café when they’re in season—now—and she happily returns as a participating chef at the ninth annual Mangoes at the Moana Festival next month at the Moana Surfrider.
“[Hawai‘i] mangoes, every season, are so different,” Wong says. “They’re different because of the humidity, sunshine, growing methods, when they’re picked, how long they’ve stayed on the tree, the soil. It’s incredible.”
We agree. So we put together some interesting facts and helpful tips about this beloved fruit, along with a few ways to sample the local bounty in its peak season right now.
KNOW YOUR MANGOES
There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes, each with a characteristic taste, shape, color and size. In Hawai‘i, farmers grow dozens of varieties, from the sweet Pirie to the aromatic Haden. Here’s a comprehensive list of some of these mangoes from Mākaha Mangoes, including fruit color, size and aroma, to help you talk like an expert at your next visit to the farmers market.
DID YOU KNOW?
Mangoes are the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines. In India, a basket of mangoes is offered as a token of friendship.
Most of the mangoes in the U.S. come from Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and Haiti. Since each country has a different growing season, American consumers can get their mango fix year-round.
Mangosteens and mangoes are not similar—they’re not even related. The mangosteen belongs to the genus Garcinia, with a purple or purple-reddish skin and a white-fleshed fruit divided into segments like an orange. Mangoes are part of the Mangifera genus, with a soft flesh surrounding a stone, or pit. Don’t try to swap them in recipes.
A one-cup serving of mango is just 100 calories and is packed with vitamins C and A and lots of fiber.
Mangoes have natural tenderizing properties, making them great for marinades.
Ripe mangoes smell fruity at the stem end and are ready to eat when slightly soft to the touch. To speed up ripening, store them in a paper bag on the counter.
Mangoes are popping up on the menus of dozens of Hawai‘i restaurants as seasonal or special dishes.
MANGO SHAVE ICE
This is pastry chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka’s favorite season, so you can find mango shave ice at MW Restaurant and mango cheesecake at Artizen at MW starting this month—all using fruit from Mākaha Mangoes.
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Kathy Masunaga of Sweet Revenge Honolulu is whipping up mini mango pies, available at local farmers markets.
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MANGO ICE CREAM ROLLS
Sweet Creams added local mangoes to its menu while in season.
It's…MANGO Season!! We're excited to announce that we've teamed up with @makahamangoes to serve their super sweet and juicy mangoes! 🙌🙌🙌 So blessed and honored to have Grandma Suiso, who started the farm over 50 years ago in beautiful Makaha Valley, come by with her grand and great-grandchildren, and have a taste of their delicious mangoes in our ice cream rolls! 🤗🤗🤗 #supportlocal #buylocal #makahamangoes #sweetcreams #sweetcreams808 #mangoseason #mango #luckywelivehawaii #madewithaloha #madeinhawaii #makaha #hawaii #oahu #alamoana #honolulu #honolulumagazine #icecreamrolls #rolledicecream #ono #onokinegrindz #hawaiisbestkitchens
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**How to make DELICIOUS Mango Ice Cream Rolls!!** Starring #makahamangoes!! Come get some now while it's still in season!! 😋😋😋 #sweetcreams #sweetcreams808 #icecreamrolls #rolledicecream #hawaiisbestkitchens #hawaii #oahu #alamoana #honolulu #aloha #luckywelivehawaii #mango #mangoes #madeinhawaii #madewithaloha #yelphawaii #hawaiisoriginal #hawaiisbest
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Or buy your tickets now for the ninth annual Mangoes at the Moana Festival. The all-things-mangoes event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 15 at the Moana Surfrider. Taste mango dishes by top local chefs—Wong, Karr-Ueoka, Andrew Le of The Pig & The Lady, Robyn Mai‘i of Fête—and cocktails by professional mixologists. The event also features cooking demos, seminars for mango-growing enthusiasts, a farmers market and a pop-up bake shop.
Cost is $55, $60 at the door. Buy tickets at tickets.honoluluboxoffice.com/e/mangoes-at-the-moana
The 2018 Hale ‘Aina Awards ballot is now online! Vote for your favorite restaurants now through June 30 for a chance to win dining certificates from our Hale ‘Aina winners. Click here to vote now. Winners will be announced at the Hale ‘Aina Awards Ceremony on Sept. 17. Stay tuned to this page for updates.