It’s officially, mango season is finally here! Jamaicans are known mango lovers, and during the season most individuals get to indulge in a variety of mangoes.
Mangoes are considered beloved fruits in Jamaica, so much so that a folk song, Mango Time, was written to express just how much the fruit is treasured on the island.
Mango season usually starts around April or May and ends about July, though there is at least one variety, the Tommy Atkins, which comes in around September or October.
Chances are most Jamaicans are familiar with mangoes such as St Julian (Julie), East Indian, Stringy, and of Blackie.
But, have you ever heard of mangoes like cowfoot, beefy or turpentine? There are many types of mangoes in Jamaica but most Jamaicans do not know their names.
Jamaicans have some very “colourful” and descriptive names for the different species of mangoes across the island.
Mangoes are native to South Asia, where they have been grown for more than 6,000 years. They were introduced to Jamaica in the 1700s after several varieties were discovered on a French ship that was destined for Hispaniola. The ship was captured at sea by Lord Rodney and the mangoes brought to the island.
Here are ten not so popular mangoes that you may find during mango season in Jamaica.
The Bombay mango, or Bambay as Jamaicans call it, has an extremely sweet, rich and unique taste.
Its flavour can be described as rich and honeyed. The skin of the Bombay mango normally remains mostly green with red blush.
Once it is ripe and ready to be picked you’ll see a slight yellow hue on the bottom. The flesh is dark orange and completely fibreless.
Sheep nut mangoes are very rare, but if you should every get your hands on one of these juicy delights your taste buds will definitely be pleased.
These green-yellow or red-yellow elongated mangoes are very sweet and syrupy you won’t be able to have just one.
Sheep nut mangoes are commonly found in the parish of St Catherine.
Well, as the name suggests butter mangoes have an extremely soft texture, especially if they are not picked from the tree. So, if you don’t like soft mangoes this one is certainly not for you.
Butter mangoes tend to be close to burgundy in colour and grow to various sizes.
When it comes on to taste, these mangoes aren’t very sweet. While butter mangoes are not sugary, they do have a fruity taste.
Longie / Long mango
If you are looking for a sweet and fibreless mango to munch on, then long mango without a doubt makes the cut.
As the name suggests, long mangoes are elongated in shape. These mangoes are normally yellow with speckles when ripe.
Its skin is thin and slightly bitter, but the flesh is dynamic in taste as result of several sweet flavours bursting at your taste bud all at once.
Turpentine mangoes are very hard to come by, but if you should get chance to indulge in one of these delicious mangoes make sure that it is ‘well’ ripe.
It’s not a mango you’d want to eat when green or ‘turn’, as many describe it tastes “like turpentine” hence its name.
Turpentine mangoes must be tree-ripened for the sweet taste to come forward. When ripe, it is an exceptionally sweet, nonfibrous fruit.
Its skin colours can be a variety of bright yellow,orange, pink, purple, and red shades. Once you have a slice of turpentine, you’ll want more of this extraordinary mango!
Sweetie Come Brush Mi
This mango has quite a long and unexplainable name. Sweetie Come Brush Mi mangoes are like diamonds – they’re a rare find.
The mango is extremely sweet, hence the ‘sweetie’ as for the ‘come brush mi’ that part remains a mystery. The mango is known for its sweet, distinctive flavour and hairy and fibrous texture.
If you want to identify a sweetie come brush mi, look for a flattish, oblong, kidney-shaped mango with varied colours of yellow, green and gold with a little crust to it.
At times this mango seems mysterious as it is only seen on the Island in some parishes.
Beefy/Belly Full Mango
From the names, you probably guessed that these mangoes are really big in comparison to other types.
Belly full mangoes make great salads and juices thanks to their firm texture. They are sweet enough for you to enjoy a few chilled slices as well.
Fine skin/Paper skin
Known as paper skin or fine skin, depending on which parish you’re in, this mango is related to the blackie family.
It is very small and usually remains green even when ripen. The skin is thin and the mango is a bit fibrous.
Eating a paper skin or fine skin will have you wanting more!
The robin mango is a delicious fruit with a velvety smooth texture. This mango grows best in St Elizabeth and is not very popular in the other parishes.
Robin mangoes are small with a mostly greenish skin with slight yellowish variations.
It seems to be a favourite of many thanks to its sweet and tangy flavours.
Millie are very small mangoes that are usually sweet to taste. Similar to other mangoes the flesh of the Millie mango has stringy fibres.
Here are 1/2 dozen honourable mentions