Mango season in Hawaii typically takes place during the early summer months. June and July is usually when ours are at their peak ripeness and size. Yet as early as February, our trees begin growing the flowers that eventually, with nature permitting, become mangoes.
This year we have an exceptionally impressive amount of flowers on our trees. Certainly more than in recent years’ past. Yet the strong winds these past few days has me thinking of how poor our harvest was due to the “40 days of rain” last year from February thru April. The rain, along with the gusting winds not only blow the delicate flowers off the tree, but trees also don’t like excessive rain, prefering more dry, arid climates. They’re seem very sensitive to any type of weather changes.
For those who haven’t seen what a mango looks like before they become actual fruit, here are the flowers…
Look at all those flowers! If nature didn’t have its way with them (they’re very delicate and blow off easily), just imagine how many mangoes we’d have. Wow.
On the Shibata flower, you can actually see little shibata “bulbs” growing out. Interestingly, if you “smoosh” the flowers in your hand, you can smell the fragrance of mango (unlike the leaves and branches).
These are the “first born” off this tree this year…
The small 3-3/4″ long Pirie (shown inset with ruler) actually fell from the top yesterday, so it bruised on one side, but I still ate it. A bit over-ripe, but man, these Pirie are SOO-WEEET! Such a treat to have one in February! Later when get “choke” mangoes, we end up not appreciating them as much and give most of ’em away.
The Shibata are more fibrous and tangy, best suited for Pickled or Shoyu Mango. They’re good when fully ripe, but I much prefer the Pirie.
So let us pray that the late winter weather will be kind to those precious mango flowers so that we’ll have a productively sweet and tasty 2007 mango season!