If there’s one fruit that is most associated with the tropics, it’s the mango. If you live in an area like Hawaii, where mangoes are grown locally, people almost always have their favorite variety. Some 40 different varieties are grown on the islands, and of these there are about 10 which produce the bulk of the mango crops. There are 5 different mango varieties grown at Horizon, and my favorite, by a long shot, is the Keitt.
The Keitt is a late harvest variety originating out of Florida. It generally ripens from August through October, or even into November. This year it looks like we’ll still have fruit well into November. The other mangoes here on the property, and state-wide in general, are usually finished by July or August.
The Keitt mango
The Keitt mango is huge, easily weighing in between 2 to 4 pounds each! What’s a little unusual about this variety is that it doesn’t change color to indicate that it’s ripe. In years past, I would wait for the expected color change before picking. Unfortunately the fruit then just falls to the ground, turning to a mush from the bruising.
Keitt mango tree trees grow to a medium size, allowing them to bear the heavy fruit they produce. The flesh itself is sweet, with low amounts of fiber, a thin seed, and the skin is green with a purple or red tinge.
This variety is anthracnose resistant, meaning it is resistant to a fungal disease causing dark lesions. The fruit also has a long shelf life.
The versatile mango
Just like a peach, the versatile mango can be used to flavor pies, jam, chutney, and also ice cream, sorbets, relishes, preserves, juices as well as being used in a wide array of baked goods. Of course, just like a really good peach, nothing beats the fresh fruit, especially when it’s chilled. A fresh mango topped cheese cake, or served alone with vanilla ice cream…yum! Here in Hawaii, mango bread is widely popular as a fruit substitute for banana.
You’ll often find the mango flavored bread (with cranberries, pictured above) and mango muffins on our buffet breakfast menu.
Mango wood has become a popular wood both for furniture and also art objects. Mango trees reach maturity for harvesting at between seven to fifteen years, and the wood itself does not require intensive processing and drying. Another reason for its popularity is that it has a very similar look to teak.
Fun fact! Mango wood is sustainable.
The wood is already a byproduct of the industrial mango fruit industry and the trees are quick to mature compared to other varieties of trees. Once the trees have finished fruiting they are harvested for their wood and then replaced with the next crop to then bear fruit.
Besides being an attractive tree, mango produces a beautiful and useful wood. Local craftsman use mango (when they can get it) to produce wooden art work and gorgeous bowls and boxes (as pictured). Mango doesn’t have the cache of koa, but because there is so little available, it ranks up there as far as desirability among the wood workers.
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