Mango (Mangifera indica)
Mangoes are medium-sized evergreen tree 8-12m tall, 5-7m wide with dark green leaves and fist-sized yellow-apricot fruit. They like a warm, sheltered position and well-drained soil and they do best in the tropics and subtropics, although they’re well worth a try in warm parts of Sydney and Perth.
Growing and care: mango trees like their fertiliser, so feed young trees in spring and late summer with Dynamic Lifter or a complete plant food (eg, citrus food). Older trees should be fed after harvesting, then again few months later. Water young trees regularly to help them get established. Mulch the soil well. In temperate zones, late spring (around October/November) is the best time to plant all tropical fruit trees, including mangoes.
Harvests: mangoes will ripen more slowly in cooler spots such as Sydney and Perth, compared with tropical zones. In summer, watch the skin colour: when it starts to turn from green to yellow, sometimes orange or red, they’re ripening. You can ripen mangoes at room temperature inside the house, and once fully ripe they can be refrigerated for several days.
Best varieties: the Bowen mango (‘Kensington Pride’) is hard to beat for quality and cropping. Check out Daley’s Fruit Tree Nursery (www.daleysfruit.com.au) as there are plenty of other varieties. Daley’s has the dwarf ‘Irwin’ mango that’s 2-4m tall. It is worth growing mangoes from seed as they produce up to eight shoots from each seed, only one of which is different from the parent tree. Remove this one – usually the centrally-located, most vigorous shoot – and all of the other shoots sent up are identical in fruit type to the parent mango tree.
Cheater’s mango ice-cream
2/3 to 3/4 of a tub of plain vanilla ice-cream, softened at room temperature
flesh of 2 ripe mangoes
1. Let the ice-cream soften till it’s almost runny.
2. Puree the flesh of the mangoes in a food processor.
3. Stir the pureed mango into the ice-cream and mix it in well. Put into the freezer. After 2 hours, take the ice-cream out of the freezer and whip the ice-cream, to break up the ice crystals. Re-freeze. After another hour, do the same thing again, whipping the almost-frozen ice-cream. That should make the ice-cream nice and smooth.
4. Serve the mango ice-cream on its own, or with a tropical fruit salad.