Red Chinese Mulberries
The Red Chinese mulberry tree is a broad, spreading bush or small tree dotted with small thorns. Like its mulberry relatives, the fruits are technically not a berries but rather aggregates of tiny fleshy drupes clustered around a single stem
Monterrey pears are a large variety from northern Mexico, botanically a cultivar of Pyrus pyrifolia. The Asian pear hybrid was selected from the tree of a popular southern Texas variety. Monterrey pears are a cross of European pear and a Japanese pear.
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Kastooree mangoes look more like large plums than like mangoes. They grow on very large trees. Young leaves are dark purple and foreshadow the color of the ripe fruits. The small, Kastooree mangoes are mostly round but have an ever-so-slight kidney shape near the stem. They measure around 4 to 6 centimeters long and 3 to 4 centimeters wide. Kastooree mangoes start out green and as they mature, the smooth skin begins to take on a purple hue and turns a deep purple to almost black color. Beneath the somewhat thick skin, the sweetly aromatic flesh of the Kastooree mango is a dark orange. There are small fibers near the seed, but otherwise the flesh is not stringy. The taste is said to be more intense than the common mango, and the variety has a distinct flavor all its own. Kastooree mangoes are very juicy.
Kastooree mangoes are available in the summer months.
Kastooree, or Kasturi mangoes, are a unique variety of mango from Indonesia, botanically known as Mangifera casturi. They are also known as Kalimantan mangoes, so-called for their place of origin. Their deep purple color earned them the nickname “Blue mango” in the United States. Kastooree mango trees reach up to 30 meters tall, and were one of the many trees that made up the rainforest canopy in Indonesia. Logging and other deforestation in Borneo have driven Kastooree mangoes into extinction in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature declared M. casturi extinct in the wild as of 1998. The uniquely colored fruits are still cultivated by home growers and small farms in their native Indonesia and in small pockets of southern Florida and the Caribbean.
Kastooree mangoes are high in fiber and are a good source of vitamins A and C. The dark-hued mangoes also contain a reasonable amount of protein, potassium, and small amounts of vitamin E and iron. Kastooree mangoes also have a high moisture content. All mangoes are rich in polyphenols which are phytonutrients rich in antioxidant benefits.
Kastooree mangoes are most often eaten fresh, with the skin peeled and seed removed. The pulp can be combined with other fruits for a tropical fruit salad or pureed for smoothies. Use the pulp to make a syrup for desserts and other baked goods. Use Kastooree mangoes for making ice cream or a refreshing juice. Kastooree mangoes will keep for up to a week either in the refrigerator or in a cool place.
In Indonesia, mangga means mango, so the Kastooree mango is referred to as “Mangga Katsuri”. In the area where they originated, the equatorial rain forest is home to orangutan, toucans, innumerable wild species of flora and fauna, and up to 31 different mango varieties. In South Kalimantan, the capital Banjarmasin, is an important harbor town off the Java Sea. The city is dominated by riverways and tributaries, on which lie some of Indonesia’s busiest floating markets where most of the city’s trade and commerce happens. The most well-known of these is the Muara Kuin floating market on the Barito River.
Kasturi, or Kastooree mangoes are native to the Indonesian portion of Borneo, known locally as Kalimantan. The mangoes grow primarily in South Kalimantan and are cultivated by the local Banjar people. There are two other recorded varieties of Kasturi mango, one called kastuba or ‘cuban’ and another called palipisan. These fruits all have the same smaller size and dark skin characteristics when ripe. Kastooree mangoes are not commercially cultivated and are grown primarily for personal use or by small farms. Kastooree mangoes have been spotted at Miami area farmer’s markets.