The Amazing Keitt Mango

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Angus.
Keitt Mango tree

The amazing Keitt mango is a large variety – a massive serving of delicious, mango sweetness. There are 5 different mango varieties currently grown at Horizon Guest House, and one of the best is the Keitt.

Mango harvest

There are 40 different varieties are grown on the islands, and of these there are about 10 which produce the bulk of the mangos supplied. The Keitt is a late harvest variety. It usually ripens from August through October, and even into November. Other mangos here on the property, and state-wide in general, are usually finished by July or August.

Keitt Mango Sliced Open

The Keitt mango

The Keitt mango is large, easily weighing between 2 to 4 pounds each! This variety doesn’t change color to indicate that it’s ripe. In the past we would wait for the expected color change before picking – the Keitt’s green skin will stay green, even if it’s ripe – and then the fruit would fall to the ground, turning to mush from the bruising.

Keitt Mango Big Island Hawaii

Make sure the mango is ripe by pressing gently on the skin – it should give slightly. The mango may need to sit for a few days after picking to ensure it has ripened enough. Don’t store mangos in the fridge as they don’t like the cold. The best way to prepare a mango is to slice your way around the seed, cutting the flesh in a cross-hatch pattern.

Keitt Mangos fruit bowl Big Island Hawaii
Keitt mangos, bananas, lemons, limes, avocados and rambutan (red & spiky)

History of the Keitt

The Keitt mango originated from a seedling of the Mulgoba cultivar and was named for Mrs J.N. Keitt who planted the first seed in Florida in 1939. By the mid-1940s it was being grown commercially. This Keitt is also found throughout Central and South America as well as Hawaii.

Mango bread with cranberries

The trees grow to a medium size, allowing them to bear the heavy fruit they produce. The flesh itself is sweet, low in fiber, a thin seed, and the skin is mostly green with a purple or red tinge. This variety is anthracnose resistant, this means it is resistant to a fungal disease causing dark lesions. The fruit also has a long shelf life.

The versatile mango

The mango can be used to flavor pies, jam, chutney, ice cream, sorbets, relishes, preserves, juices as well as being used in a wide array of baked goods. But nothing beats the fresh fruit, especially when it’s chilled. A fresh mango topped cheese cake, or served alone with spoonful of vanilla ice cream… delicious! Here in Hawaii, mango bread is very popular as a fruit substitute for banana. When mangos are in season we often make mango flavored bread (with cranberries, pictured above) and mango muffins – a great addition to the breakfast menu.

Mango muffins

Mango wood

Mango wood has even become a popular wood both for furniture and also art objects. Mango trees reach maturity for harvesting at between seven to fifteen years. The wood itself does not require intensive processing. Another reason for its popularity is that it has a very similar look to teak.

Mango wood is sustainable. The wood is already a by-product of the industrial mango fruit industry and the trees are quick to mature compared to other trees. Once the trees have finished fruiting they are harvested for their wood and then replaced with the next crop of mangos.

Mango wood

Besides being an attractive tree, it produces a beautiful wood. Local craftsman use mango (when they can get it) to produce wooden art work as well as beautiful bowls and boxes (as pictured). Mango doesn’t have the same cache of koa, but because there is so little available, it ranks up there as far as desirability among the wood workers.

Mango wood boxes

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