It’s great when product promotions click, and I reckon using Tobie Puttock for a campaign to promote Australian grown mangoes has cheffy credibility that’s often missing. It seems less like ‘Quick! Grab a celebrity chef!’, and more about an Australian boy (who has clearly made good), sucking on a mango on a summer’s day. The previous mango poster boy/ambassador was Pete Evans, (equally credible of course) who is still on the Australian Mangoes website.
Down our way it may be spring but is still pretty cold, and adjusting to the idea that it’s the start of mango season is hard. But there they were at the fresh food market. The boxes announced they were from the Northern Territory and the mangoes inside looked good. I’d expect to wait months before they come to my attention (usually when the price drops and you buy them by the tray), but as you can see from this chart they’re available for around seven months of the year, it’s just that January to March is when you see most varieties at their peak production. This year with good rain it promises to be a bumper crop, and that means we’ll all have to eat more so that we support our local growers. I’m ready for the challenge but with my surprise at seeing the first offerings, I clearly needed to know more about the industry. Here’s my catch up.
Those black areas on the map are where mangoes are grown commercially in Australia. Production begins in Darwin in August and is due to peak in early October. Those are the mangoes you’ll see in the shops now, mostly Kensington Pride and Calypso varieties. Kensington Pride makes up about 60% of the fruit offered and Calypso is 15%. (The catchy named “R2E2” is about 6%).
Katherine (NT) and Kununurra (WA) then follow in mid-October, then Queensland production starts in mid-November, with south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales completing the harvest from early January. Queensland produces 60% of the country’s mango crop. Key mango growing regions include Mareeba/Dimbulah, Burdekin/Bowen, Yeppoon and Bundaberg in Queensland. Darwin, Katherine and Mataranka in the Northern Territory, Northern New South Wales, and Kununurra, Carnarvon and Gingin in Western Australia.
A fact sheet from the Australian Mango Industry Association says of the fresh fruit harvested, 90% is sold on the Australian domestic market and 10% is exported. There’s a regular mango price report that will give you some idea of how widely the range of quality produce affects the price. Clearly you need some pointers as to how to select the best, and what to expect to pay for them. Here’s some more hints from the fact sheets.
Buying and Storing Mangoes
- When choosing your mangoes, use your nose! A ripe fresh mango should have a fragrant tropical fruity aroma, whereas an unripe mango has no scent and can have an unpleasant chemical taste if eaten raw.
- Some mangoes have a greater degree of ‘blush’ than others and different varieties naturally develop different skin tones, a ripe mango should be orange, red or rosy. Never buy completely green mangoes, as they may never ripen.
- A ripe mango will give slightly to the touch but stay away from very soft or bruised fruit.
- If you find your mangoes are not quite ripe enough, store them at room temperature between 18 -22°C and out of the sun for a few days until the fruit ripens. Storing them in a paper bag for a few days will also help them along.
- When stored properly, a mango should have a shelf life of about a week and while the mango will not ripen in the refrigerator, it can be kept chilled once ripe.
- To get the best taste out of your mangoes, don’t refrigerate.
See some of Tobie’s mango recipes in our Kitchen section (there’s lots more on the Australian Mangoes website). And I’ll let Tobie (or at least the press release) have the last word while he shows you how he cuts up a mango.
“By eating mangoes not only do you get to savour the goodness of these golden fruits, but you are also helping Australian farmers and supporting the domestic economy by purchasing seasonal local produce. So what are you waiting for? Go an Aussie Mango,” Tobie said.”