I have not had a mango for ages. It’s so long ago I can tell you where and when. It was Jamaica, this time last year. As an island girl I am really particular about my mangoes. I shy away from the mango flavoured water fruits often sold over here (having been picked way too early and packed with more airmiles than my entire expat family to get here to the desert).
I have timed my last three trips home to coincide with mango season. Jamaica is where mangoes are worth the damage they do to your waistline when you sit and eat copious amounts of them. We love our mangoes so much that we even have folk songs about mango season…the memories. You can walk up to a house and smell the mangoes riping in the trees in the yard all the way from the street. I wonder if my Aunty Claudette (also Lij’s primary school principal) and my late grandmother (her big sis) knew why they got so many visitors during a certain time of year. They had the two best mango trees ever planted on earth. I’m dead serious.
Well, to my surprise last night while I was in the supermarket looking for fresh herbs to season some Jamaican Curry Goat I am making to share with you, a very familiar scent caught my nostrils. My head jerked in the direction of the aroma. It was the first time I was actually smelling mangoes before I could see them in all my years in the UAE. I had to buy.
These days we have been cutting down our sugary fruits and starchy food consumption as we mindfully eat and exercise our way to fitter bodies, but we are on a healthy lifestyle, not a fad diet. Good fruit was meant to be enjoyed within reason. And yes, it means that I won’t be eating mangoes all day everyday during mango season. While we are not on a diet plan of sorts, we have applied our best knowledge of healthy nutrition in order to maximise our food intake to suit our bodies and our palate.
It was too late to eat the mango then so I made an impromptu recipe in my head right there in the supermarket. I had big plans for lunch. Foods with a high sugar content like mangoes cause your blood sugar to spike so in order to balance things out, I decided to add some protein to stabilise my insulin levels. Plus eating them earlier in the day gives my body more time to burn them off rather than at midnight, right before bed. I could actually taste the salad I wanted to create. I already had some same-day fresh romaine lettuce and cucumbers from a local farm. I just needed some feta. I didn’t trust the bit I had in the fridge. Salivating yet? Here’s the recipe…
- The season's best ripe mango (just slightly firm enough to slice)
- romaine lettuce
- feta cheese
- Wash mango, letture and cucumber
- Peel mango and cut into slices then into bite-sized pieces
- Cut slices of watermelon
- cube feta cheese
- Tear lettuce on bottom of salad bowl or plate
- Add cucumber slices
- Top with feta and mango