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Mango and Lemongrass Sorbet

February 14, 2008

Mangoes are a beautiful tropical fruit used both ripe and unripe.

Before they ripen, they are popular for making chutney or the peeled flesh can be shaved thinly and mixed with a little salt and sugar for a simple fresh relish.

Mango powder or amchur is made from sun-dried raw green mangoes. It is used in Indian cookery much as lemons are used in the West and imparts a tangy sour taste without adding moisture.

Before they ripen, mangoes contain a higher amount of  Vitamin C. As the fruit ripens, the amount of Vitamin A or beta carotene increases. They are well endowed with antioxidants and also contain a water-soluble fibre which helps prevent cancer of the digestive tract. Minerals include iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. They also contain folic acid.

Ripe mangoes are one of the beauties of the fruit world. Depending on the variety the colour can range from gold through to a warm orange with a red blush.

You can tell when a mango is ripe by applying gentle pressure to the stem end, which will give. And of course there is that sweet mango scent.

Blemishes on the skin are usually caused by fruit rubbing against the branch and do not affect the taste of the flesh.

You can buy a firm mango and let it ripen at home – but don’t store it in the refrigerator. Leave it out of the sunlight, at room temperature until it ripens and softens – then it can go into the fridge.

Don’t store them in plastic bags. They like to breathe.

Mangoes are an excellent accompaniment to spicy grilled prawns or chicken, specially when prepared as a salsa.

If you have a glut of rapidly softening mangoes, they can be sliced and frozen. They puree easily and can be frozen in ice cube trays, but I like to turn them into a delicious mango sorbet.

Mango Sorbet with Lemongrass

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons finely sliced lemongrass
3 mangoes
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger

Place the water, sugar and lemongrass in a saucepan and simmer for five minutes, then chill.

Slice the cheeks off each side of the mango, as close to the stone as possible, and scoop the flesh from the peel. Remove any remaining flesh from the stone. Place the pulp in a blender with the lemon juice and zest and the ginger and process. Chill.

Strain the lemongrass from the syrup and mix with the chilled mango pulp. Place in an ice cream machine and blend until frozen and smooth then place in the freezer in a sealed carton.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, place the mixture in a metal tray and freeze, forking it up periodically till you have a smooth consistency. Place in a sealed container.

The sorbet may need a little time to temper in the refrigerator before serving if it has turned very hard.

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| ©2000-2013 Pat Churchill