One of the things I appreciate about Zimbabwe is that no matter how bad the economy is, you can always find affordable or free fruit. I grew up in Kuwadzana where each house is about 200 square metres, not a lot of land, but almost every house had a fruit tree. Peaches, mangoes, avocados, grapes and sugar cane were always available at my parents’ house or neighbours. We hardly ever had to buy this fruit and so I took it for granted.
This year because of the global shortage, avocados were $6 each here in Bermuda and these are tiny avocados. Taste and size of these avocados do not even compare to the fruit that just falls out of my in-laws’ property. The only mangoes worth buying are the ones that get shipped from Haiti in the summer and they are like $5. It literally makes me weep when I think of all the fruit I could be enjoying in Zimbabwe right now, for $5 I would actually end up with a running stomach!
All this made me think of how I would preserve all this fruit, in drinks and jams. I made mango drink which is more of a syrup that you can dilute with water or just pour on pancakes.
Canned properly this syrup can be kept for a year. Hopefully, the next time I am in Zimbabwe it will be mango season and I can experiment with the different kinds of mangoes especially the tiny mangoes those are my favourite.
- 2 mangoes to make 1 cup mango meat
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Peel mangoes, cup the meat off the pit and dice it. Add mango meat to a small pot.
- Add sugar, vanilla extract and water. Stir to mix.
- Bring to simmer over medium heat and turn the heat down to medium-low to low. Cover, leaving a crack for the steam to escape, and cook for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Once it's cooked, strain through a fine strainer. Press gently on some of the meat to get juices out.
- Allow to cool before diluting with 4 parts water to 1 part mango syrup. Store syrup in a glass jar with a lid.
- Wipe the jar rims with a moistened paper towel and put on the two-piece lids.
- Bring water to a boil in a water bath canner, add the syrup jars (using the little basket that keeps the jars off the bottom of the canner), make sure that they are covered with 1-2 inches of water and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat somewhat (you still want it to be boiling though) and process for 15 minutes.
- Remove the jars and set on a towel on the counter top to cool.