Signs of Summer

Seasonless as our climate may seem, I’ve noted other markers of change elsewhere. It’s full-on summer now, no turning back. Last week we were deluged by Tropical Storm Alex, the first storm of our annual rainy season. No photos of the mid-calf water I had to wade through to get to the car. Use your imagination.

The flaming blooms of the Poinciana trees are one sign of the arrival of summer. This year they seem to be short-lived, quickly being overtaken by the spreading of the green. Their beauty is still striking.

still ripening on the tree

Trees filled with round and oval fruits slowly changing from green to various shades of orange and red, mangos, are another sure sign.

Thanks to a friend from Girl Scout times, we often get a fridge and freezer full of these sweet and succulent fruits. I think her mangos are Hadens, one of a number of varieties cultivated in Florida. Their meat is firm and sweet with very few troublesome strings.

I was introduced to mangos during my stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica. Another volunteer was housed with a family whose yard was filled with these miraculous trees. We learned to stand over the kitchen sink while eating, the fruits were so overflowing with juice! What a delicious mess.

Many years ago I came up with a sweet, chunky accompaniment for fish or chicken. I made it again with the current batch of mangos.

sweet and savory and crunchy

Simply peel and dice mango, try to use pieces that are move firm. Dice some red, yellow, and/or orange sweet peppers. Add diced red onion; I used shallots this time for a more delicate flavor. If you enjoy spice, add some diced jalapeno. We enjoyed it over cold broiled branzino, a particularly sweet fish, with black rice.

This recipe for Mango Dessert Cups appeared recently in the local newspaper. Because our mangos were exceptionally sweet, I did not add sugar. The result is a light dessert with a delicate aftertaste of mango:

ready for a new recipe

 Mango Dessert Cups. Start by covering two teaspoons of unflavored gelatin with 1/3 cup of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the gelatin. Next combine 1½ cups of chopped mango with 1 cup of light coconut milk in a blender and mix until smooth. Add honey (optional) to taste and bland. Add the gelatin mixture and pulse a few times.

Spoon the mixture into six ramekins or jars (or saved yogurt jars, some of mine came home with me from a marvelous trip to Portugal). Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Serve with finely diced mango (or fruit salad), sprinkle with coconut and enjoy.

Summer, the time for lovely tastes.


  1. Hi, a neighbor gave my mom mangoes and she decided to make preserve. I took some and made the most amazing mango Lassi. Just the pulp, yogurt, cardamom and a pinch of saffron if you like.


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