Since the last installment in this series, area mangos have been showing signs of producing a bumper crop. But between now and ripening time, our capricious climate will play the role of a wild card in the process. Springtime winds frequently knock immature fruits to the ground, and unseasonally heavy rainfall can also take a toll. But at least this year’s heavy flowering across southern Florida gives mango devotees great optimism that there will be enough local fruit available not only to enjoy fresh, but to freeze for consumption in the off-season.
While some experts say that frozen mangos should be used within six months, there’s ample testimony that the fruit will still be good after a year. To prepare mangos for freezer storage, simply slice or dice the fruit, lay it out on a baking pan, and cover it with plastic wrap. Pop the tray into the freezer for at least a few hours, and then transfer the pieces to freezer bags.
Here are descriptions of some more of the mango cultivars available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery:
Edward Some aficionados rate this the best-tasting of all Florida cultivars. Because it does not bear heavily, it is less popular as a commercial selection than it is for growing at home. The fruit of Edward is sweet, fiberless, juicy and aromatic, and the tree is a vigorous grower, with above-average resistance to disease. Mature fruit weighs in from 16 to 22 oz., and ripens from May to July.
Ewais Egypt is the source of this vigorous cultivar, so it tolerates heat well. It is also considered to have good anthracnose tolerance. The nearly fiberless orange flesh has what one technical paper describes as a “sweet and agreeable” taste. Mature fruit weighs in at just under 10 oz.
Fairchild This cultivar originated in the Panama Canal Zone in the early 1900s and is prized for its capacity to be grown in containers and kept under 10 ft. It is especially well-suited to humid climates. The orange flesh is aromatic, fiberless, deep orange in color and spicy in flavor. The 10-oz. fruit ripens in June-July.
Florigon This mango originated in Ft. Lauderdale, where it first fruited nearly 80 years ago in the yard of a future police chief of the city. It has proven excellent-tasting, disease-resistant, and high-yielding. The fiberless fruit, which averages under 16 oz. in weight, matures from late May to July.
Glenn Discovered in a Miami backyard in the 1940s, Glenn is a longtime favorite for its sweet, mildly peachy flavor and its ease of maintenance. The tree is capable of reaching 30 ft., but can be maintained easily at 10 ft., a plus for small yards. The aromatic, fiberless fruit, averaging 12-20 oz., matures from early June to early July.
Graham This juicy, flavorful Jamaican mango is descended from the very popular Julie. It is another cultivar well-suited for small yards or balconies, easily capable of being maintained at 10 ft. It grows well in our humid climate. The fruit, aromatic and nearly fiberless, averages 13-16 oz. and ripens in the period from mid-July to August.
Haden Introduced in Coconut Grove in the early 20th century, Haden was the first home-grown Florida mango cultivar to become a commercial hit, and it has since sired other delicious varieties. The tree is a vigorous grower. Its large, beautiful fruit, averaging 16-32 oz., ripens from June to July.