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March 2018



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fruits and vegetables

Mangoes, Pears, and Alfalfa Sprouts

Types of mangoes
I have always loved mangoes. We usually get the big green and red kind. When they are unripe they are hard, dry, and bland. But when they are ripe they are soft, juicy, and sweet. Apparently there are lots of types of mangoes but only a few are allowed into the US. Recently a new kind of small yellow mango (called an ataulfo or champagne) has been showing up in stores. It is more likely to be ripe than the big green mangoes. I love these sweet little mangoes even more than the big green ones. This past week Wegmans had a batch of different mangoes. They were huge! They looked like mutant versions of the big green mangoes but they were mostly yellow and red, and twice as big. They also cost more so I could only buy one. But it was worth it. It was the best mango I have ever eaten! When a fruit is imported and expensive it is less likely to taste good. So I can understand why people don't get into mangoes. If you tried one and it was hard and sour, you didn't get a good one.

I've been gushing about Asian Pears for years now and I occasionally run into people who say they just don't get into pears. Pears do grow around here so there is less excuse for bad pears. But I do understand that pears can be uninspiring. An under-ripe pear is hard and tasteless. And an over-ripe pear is mushy and disgusting. Even a perfectly ripe pear has that strange papery skin and gritty core. So I get it. But a good ripe Asian Pear is perfect. It's crisp and succulent without being mushy or bland. I can't wait for the local Asian Pears to come in. We didn't get any last year because of the weather. I hope they made it this year.

The Ithaca Bakery used to have a branch with a drive through window. I would go there and order the tuna salad sandwich on pumpernickel with alfalfa sprouts. It is one of my favorite sandwiches. I promised Marilyn that I would make her one sometime, so last week I bough some alfalfa sprouts and marble rye (they didn't have any pumpernickel). I used up the whole loaf of rye bread making sandwiches and I still had leftover alfalfa sprouts. I finally made an alfalfa sandwich on Heidelberg peasant wheat bread with Miracle Whip. The alfalfa sprouts were deliciously crunchy and succulent without being wet. What else can you do with alfalfa sprouts?

My other favorite tuna sandwich is tuna salad on Martin's potato bread with potato chips and bread-and-butter pickle chips.
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