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First, the bad news: We've missed the season for Alphonso mangoes. From the end of April to the end of June, you can mail-order this variety, which comes primarily from India's Konkan Coast, or seek it out on the Subcontinent, where it's anxiously awaited. (But come June 3, you'll no longer be able to purchase a box from mangoinUSA.com.) While India grows half of the world's mangoes, $50 million of the fruit per year, according to Travel and Leisure, the Alphonso is the most prized.
Its "voluptuous shape and sunshine-yellow skin," writes Sejal Sukhadwala in the Guardian "reveals succulent saffron-coloured flesh that's smooth and buttery: imagine a cross between peach, nectarine, apricot and melon with notes of honey and citrus."
But now, the better news: While you might have to mark your calendar for next April to get your hands on an Alphonso, other varieties of mango are available in the U.S.—and more so in June and July than in other months. You may be able to find Ataulfo, Francis, Haden, Keitt, Kent, and Tommy Atkins mangoes (see images of the different types here); some are grown in Florida, California, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, but most come from Haiti, Guatemala, and Mexico (and, in the fall and winter season, from Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador).
If you've never tasted an Alphonso, you won't even know what you're missing! And the types available now will do just as well in the lassis, soups, smoothies, soufflés, salsas, and the salads below:
And, in sorbet form (though the addition of fresh mango would also be delicious):
What's your favorite way to use mango? Tell us in the comments!