"The mangoes are falling," chanted a chorus of excited young schoolkids in Haitian Creole while I navigated a rocky, muddy path in Haiti recently as a program volunteer with global health organization Medical Teams International (medicalteams.org). Sure enough, within seconds, a large, rosy-red and orange mango fell from a canopy of trees overhead and landed with a thud right next to me.
I quickly learned the kids' way of biting into the outer skin (after I washed it), removing it with my fingers and then devouring the fruit slurp by slurp, first one half and then the other. There's nothing quite as delicious as a tree-ripened mango.
Now in season, beautiful vitamin- and mineral-rich mangoes are available at our local stores at reasonable prices. At snack time, remove the peel with a sharp knife and serve your kids long slices or chunks on a plate. Add other tropical fruits, such as pineapple and papaya, for additional authentic tastes of the Caribbean.
For a highlight at your next barbecue, dice a mango and toss with easy-to-find summer ingredients for this fresh and tangy mango salsa. It's delicious as an accompaniment to grilled chicken breasts or such fish as halibut or salmon. Serve it as a side or spoon it on top of the chicken and fish. It's yummy with grilled shrimp, too.
FRESH AND TANGY MANGO SALSA
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
1 large, ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced (about 11/2 cups)
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic,
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (see cook's note)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons orange juice
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
In mixing bowl, gently toss together all ingredients. Serve fresh. Covered and refrigerated, salsa keeps for 1 day. For variety, add diced avocado.
Cook's note: The juice of jalapeno peppers can be irritating. Wear plastic deli-style gloves when handling. Avoid hand contact with your eyes.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."