We Be Jammin' - Mango Style

Champagne Mango
Every year around this time the supermarkets in Florida are inundated with Mangoes. They start out a bit pricey, but as the season stretches on they begin to proliferate, and prices begin to drop. 

I love to eat them fresh cut, raw and unadorned, or chopped into a simple yet refreshing salsa with fresh jalapeno, red onion and cilantro. It's great as a topper to broiled or baked fish, or tossed in a taco with fresh cooked shrimp and cool crisp cabbage. 

I'll chop them up and pop them into the freezer along with bananas, berries and cherries, then whir them into smoothies in the blender or into a fresh-frozen treat using my new favorite kitchen toy, the
 Yonanas Frozen Dessert Maker

From April to August, I seek out the smaller, sweeter, golden yellow Mexican Ataulfo variety, also known as Honey or Champagne mango. These are also great to eat right from the peel, but this year I decided to take my Mango-madness to new heights by cooking up some Champagne Mango and Meyer Lemon Jam. I was pleased with the results - Sweet and spicy mangoes melding with tart, fragrant Meyer lemons, with just a hint of ginger and cinnamon backbeat. 

Champagne Mango and Meyer Lemon Jam on toast.
I'm still perfecting the recipe, and apparently mango can be tricky to thicken in jams, but I didn't use any preservatives or pectin, so if you try it, plan on keeping in the fridge for two weeks tops. Or make a batch, then invite the neighbors over for mango-jam topped waffles and blast through it all in one sitting!

Champagne Mango and Meyer Lemon Jam
I like sweet and tart jams, so I upped the pucker quotient of this honey mango jam by adding not only the zest and juice of two small, lovely Meyer lemons, but the pulp of a third, chopped into small, juicy chunks. You can omit the chunks and reduce the lemon quotient to the juice and zest of one lemon if you want a sweeter outcome. I also added a little spice – you can omit these if you want, but I like how they punch up the mango’s exotic flavor.

10 ripe champagne or honey mangoes
3 Cups organic cane sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
juice of 2 Meyer Lemons
zest of 2 Meyer Lemons
pulp of 1 Meyer Lemon (optional)

Set a small plate with four teaspoons in the freezer. This will be your test for doneness.

Wash, peel, seed and chop the mangoes. Keep the chunks as large as you’d like to see in the finished product. Alternately, you can puree the finished jam for a smooth consistency.

In a large, non-reactive pan, mix the chopped mangoes, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice and pulp. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Cook mixture on medium low, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, then add the lemon zest.

Continue to cook for 35 - 40 minutes.

Test for doneness by pulling one of the spoons from the freezer, loading a small amount of the jam onto the spoon, then replace it in the freezer for 1/2 minute. Pull it out and check how solid the jam is remaining. Does it coat the spoon, and stay solid when you turn it slightly? It’s done. If it is still loose and weepy, keep cooking. Test this way until it holds together but remains soft. It will firm up a little more when it cools. When done, remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

When the mixture is cool, ladle into the jars and close the lids tightly. You can proceed to canning these for long term storage, or simply pop into the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to 2 weeks.

My ten small mangoes yielded just over 2 wide-mouth pint jars full.  

Fun Fact: In the 1700′s, the word mango was used as a verb meaning to pickle.  For a time, anything pickled was called a mango, including peppers. This misuse of the word continued well into the 1970s in parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania. When groceries carried actual mangoes, the sign would sometimes read "Fruit Mango" so as not to confuse shoppers. 

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