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It's mango flower season! Here are some tips on making this summer treat yourself.

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

A mango flower vendor in Hamilton Heights

It wouldn't be summer uptown without street vendors selling mango flowers on the busiest corners (a.k.a. right outside subway stations).

They're the perfect summer treat: fresh and juicy, the fruit's sweetness brightened with lime juice and a sprinkling of chile powder.

Maybe you've even thought about attempting to make one yourself at home. If so, here are some tips:

1. Use the bigger, rounder variety of mango that grows in Mexico and Central America (see picture below), not the smaller, longer, yellow kind from Southeast Asia.

2. To prepare the mango, slice off the bottom and pierce the pit with a sturdy wooden skewer (the pit prevents the stick from going straight through the soft fruit). Remove the skin with a vegetable peeler, like this lady does. Then, starting at the bottom, take a large kitchen knife to make deep, diagonal cuts around the mango. Press firmly down on each cut with the side of the knife to create a petal. Here's a great video tutorial. Now practice.

Tajin is the secret ingredient in mango flowers

3. Spinkle your finished flower with lime juice. Keep in mind that many street vendors use the bottled kind.

4. Now add the chile powder on top. If you want it to taste the way it does on the street, you have to use Tajin, the Mexican seasoning that combines chile peppers, salt and dehydrated lime juice. You can find it in any supermarket with a well-stocked Latin American food section.

A juicy mango flower

5. If you're not handy, remember: a regular bowl of mango slices dressed the same way is a perfectly delicious substitute.

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