Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mango Season Has Arrived - Yippee, Hooray!

Although we're aware that winter is on the doorstep in much of the Northern Hemisphere, if not already knocking at the door, down here in Brazil the dog days of summer are upon us. Even in Fortaleza, where there is little annual variation in temperature, there's been a noticeable increase in temperature recently. And in more southernly parts of Brazil, they've gone on to daylight savings time. Hotter days and nights, and longer days are signs of summer everywhere in the world, but in Brazil there's another way to tell it's summer - it's mango season.

And how can you tell it's mango season here in Fortaleza? Easy... just walk the residential streets of the city for a few blocks, and look up from time to time into the foliage of the large shade trees that line the streets. It's hard to miss the bright yellow/orange kidney-shaped fruits dangling in the foliage canopy. They're all mangos - and all ready for plucking - ready, that is, if you can figure out a way to get 30 or 40 feet up into the tree to snag a couple.

But's there's an easier way to enjoy mango season than monkeying your way up a gigantic mango tree - just head for the local produce store or supermarket and you'll see huge bins of mangoes - usually at least four or five different varieties. All ready to eat and all getting cheaper by the day.

Mangoes grow almost everywhere in Brazil and when they're in season they're ubiquitous. In the trees, in shops and stores and on street vendors carts. Or even at stop lights - most intersections have fruit vendors who will sell a basket of fruit to you through the car window while you wait for the light to change, and these days, the basket is likely to be mangoes.

Brazil's mango crop is colossal. According to government statistics, Brazil produces about 825,000 tons of mangoes each year. Even considering that  over 90% of the crop is consumed domestically in Brazil, the remaining 67,000 tons that are exported is enough to make Brazil the world's second-largest mango exporter, trailing only Mexico.

Just as strawberry addicts gorge themselves during strawberry season, or lovers of corn-on-the-cob make August meals that are just corn, corn and more corn, Brazilians love to indulge their taste for mangoes during the summer. Most of the mango crop is either eaten fresh or processed into juice, but there are many traditional Brazilian recipes that call for mangoes in one form or another. In the next couple of days, mangoes will be our focus here at Flavors of Brazil.

22 comments:

  1. Hello, I just found your blog today. I am also an expat (Minnesota, US) living in Fortaleza with my soon-to-be husband. I am glad you have to much information about the food here and recipes. I have been finding it difficult to find good things to eat that are not rice and beans. I also love mangos. So, I am excited to see what you are going to write about.

    Adrienne

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  2. Adrienne - Thanks for the comment. What a climatic difference there is in November/December between Minnesota and Fortaleza. Almost two different worlds!
    Enjoy the mangoes while they're in season...
    JAMES

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