City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Five fantastic things about Indian mangoes

Spending $35 for a case of mangoes seems extreme. That is, until you try them. Ever since the United States began allowing the importation of irradiated Indian mangoes two years ago, a lot of Indian-Americans have been attuned to their short season, pouncing as soon as the first shipments show up in local markets.

Two years ago, Patel Brothers in Decatur got its inaugural shipment of the Kesar variety of mango. I managed to snag a case and loved what I tried. These mangoes were sweet, fragrant, heavy with juice.

“Wait until you try a fresh Alphonso mango,” my Indian friends said.

Last Saturday, as I was driving by Patel Brothers, I decided to stop in on a whim and — score! — a fresh stack of cases of Alphonso mangoes. Gulping, I shelled out the $35 bucks for 10 mangoes.

It turned out to be money well spent. My fruit-crazed family and I made it through the first five mangoes, gnawing the pits to the quick, murmuring, “Omigod, omigod.” The next four were doled out deliberately. One remains hidden at home. 

What makes these mangoes so remarkable? Maybe these five characteristics:

  1. Their pregnant density: Seriously. Can fruit get heavier, juicier?
  2. Their sweet/sour axis: Almost embarrassingly sweet close to the skin, they get tart and very lemony the closer you get toward the pit. 
  3. Their exotic spice: The flesh smells almost like sandalwood — a dab of Opium perfume behind the ear, a sawmill and peach blossoms. The flavor is like super-ripe peaches and apricots with lemon and lime and something weird, like celery seed. 
  4. Their fantastic skin: It peels right off, and you want to eat these mangoes like bananas rather than take a knife to them. The skin is leathery enough, that you can scrape it clean with your teeth like an artichoke petal.
  5. Their incredible snarfability: These are mangoes from which you scrape every shred of flesh and clean the pit like you might a particularly delicious chicken wing. Eating an Alphonso mango is a compulsive activity. 

A clerk at Patel Brothers told me he expects the Indian mango season to last about 4 weeks.

14 comments Add your comment


April 22nd, 2009
3:50 pm

I am very curious as to how you get your children to try all of these exotic fruits, dishes etc. Lucky you, healthy kids !!!


April 23rd, 2009
9:15 am

Remember, no state defines a marriage as “a union between a man and a mango”… you just need to cut yourself off… and soon by the sounds of it…

Colly Mitchell

April 23rd, 2009
8:39 pm

Hey JK,
On an unrelated matter (from mangoes): what’s up with the Incredible Shrinking Food & Drink section? Barely covers 3 pages today…times are indeed tough?


April 23rd, 2009
9:04 pm

I just went by and got a box of mangoes this evening. (They are marked down to $20.) One of the mangoes seems past its prime but the others look/taste good. I also got some seriously spicy Indian corn nuts and the mango helped tame the fire. Yum. Thanks for the heads up!


April 29th, 2009
5:26 pm

I had to google your name to find your blog — no shoutout box in the restaurant section any more?


April 30th, 2009
6:17 am

Hey, John! Where are you? the new Food section in today’s paper is very skimpy indeed. Please start posting again.


May 4th, 2009
2:31 pm

I am beginning to wonder if JK has overdosed on mangoes.Or has the AJC sent into exile my only remaining reason to read this paper at all.


May 4th, 2009
7:40 pm

He has a column in the Sunday paper now. And I saw his byline in the paper yesterday. An article about Big Green Eggs. Maybe he’s too busy for us bloggers. Sniff, sniff..


May 5th, 2009
7:44 am

Maybe this will get his interest. Shirley Corriher won a James Beard award. Best book on Baking and Deserts. Yeah Hometown Gal!

banquet manager

May 5th, 2009
10:25 pm

I heard recently that mangos imported from India will soon be the fasted growing food import to the USA. A mango from India… who’d a thunk?
So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager? You think being a banquet manager is glamorous? You try dealing with cranky chefs and bitchy waiters all day – and that’s without the nasty customers. Visit my blog and see what it’s REALLY like in this crazy profession.


May 6th, 2009
4:09 pm

I’m thinking Kessler ran off with the Food Godess, They are having a baby mango together :)


May 7th, 2009
8:00 am

I think they took the beer guy and the wine guy with him. And the rest of the Food Section. The Food section has become a wrapper for the ads. The end is near…


May 8th, 2009
12:01 pm

Given that the blog hasn’t been updated in weeks, I wonder why they linked to it from the home page?

John Kessler

May 8th, 2009
12:03 pm

Aak. Just check in on these comments. Forgive the long delay…there’s been a lot of re-orging going down here and a blog hiatus seemed like the best course of action. But — cross fingers for you, me and the planet — I’ve just filed my last Swine Flu story. Thanks very much for reading and dealing with both my muddy iPhone pictures and odd food passions. Totally had to go cold turkey on Indian mangoes…