I love pretty much everything about bananas. So it’s only natural that I always want to put them in my smoothies. The only downside to this line of thinking is that bananas tend to overpower any other flavours you blend with them. So you can imagine my excitement when I finally discovered a fruit that benefits from the sweet creaminess of the banana and yet holds it’s own against that strong flavour profile. This amazing fruit is called a Mamey.
Now as it turns out there are a few fruits that get commonly called Mamey, so let me clarify the one I am talking about. This Mamey, or Mammea americana as it is known in Latin, is also referred to as a Mamey apple and is actually classified as a berry, although it is often larger than a grapefruit. It tastes kind of like an apricot which is why it has also been called a South American apricot. But it is actually from the Mangosteen family and grows in tropical lowlands from Florida to South America. And I just happen to be lucky enough to have a tree of them growing in front of my house.
If you haven’t spent much time in tropical countries, it is very possible that you have never had the good fortune to meet this underrated little fruit. Because, as it turns out, other than in preserves, they are not really exported commercially. Now my guess would be that, this is because you can’t actually harvest Mamey in the traditional sense. No, you have to wait until the tree decides to drop them. This is because the Mamey has a very thick, woody exterior and can ripen at any size, so it is impossible to tell if they are ready to be picked. And if you pick them too early, they won’t ripen well off the tree. Trust me, I’ve tried. So instead, you find yourself walking by and shaking the tree and hoping that the Mamey gods will be smiling on you today. However, if you happen to get a heavy rain towards the end of their season, you often end up with more Mamey on the ground than you know what to do with. Which happens to be where I’m at right now.
So rather than going to the grocery store, I decided to just feed myself with what I had laying around, so to speak. And in doing so, I think I have discovered my new favorite smoothie flavour. Mamey, coconut and banana. It’s everything a smoothie should be, sweet, creamy, thick, nourishing and full of vitamins and antioxidants.
Since you are probably more familiar with the health benefits of banana and coconut, I’ll just fill you in on the incredible nutritional profile of Mamey. Mamey is incredibly high in vitamin C and A, which comes as no surprise given it’s bright orange flesh. And like it’s cousin, the Mangosteen, it is also very high in free-radical fighting antioxidants. It also has a fairly high protein content for a tropical fruit at almost 1g per 100g. Aside from the flesh itself, the seed and leaves of the tree have long been used for their insecticidal and anti-parasitic properties, including as a flea treatment for cats and dogs.
But the best reason to eat Mamey is because it tastes fantastic!
If you don’t happen to have a front yard full of Mamey right now you can do one of two things:
1. (the boring option) Substitute apricots in place of the Mamey in this smoothie OR
2. (the more exciting option….) Go buy a plane ticket to Costa Rica, take a bus to Bananito, knock on my door and demand that I share my bounty with you….which, of course I will happily do, right after I make you this delicious smoothie….
What you’ll need (makes about two large smoothies)
1 Large Ripe Mamey (1-1.5 cups of flesh)
~1-2 Cups of Chopped Ripe Organic Banana (preferably pre-frozen)
1/2-1 Cup Soft Pipa* meat
1/4 Cup Fresh Coconut Cream ( See the recipe here )
3/4 Cup Fresh (if possible) Pipa* water
*(Pipas are the small green coconuts famous for their hydrating, sweet water. They are also often called Young Thai Coconuts)
Machete to open your Pipa (optional)
How to do it
Step 1 – Take your knife and slice the Mamey length wise (from top to bottom) as deep as the seed. Keep doing this all the way around the Mamey every inch or two until you end up with sections, that you can pull away from the seed. If your Mamey is really big you may have more than one seed to deal with.
Step 2 – Peel the woody skin and attached membrane away from the soft orange flesh for each of the sections you have. This should come off easily as one piece. Now chop up the flesh into smaller pieces, taking care to remove any woody bits that may be hidden in the flesh (this is the new seeds forming). Set aside.
Step 3 – Pour your Pipa water, and coconut cream into the blender.
Step 4 – Now add the Pipa meat, Mamey pieces and frozen (or fresh) banana pieces.
Step 5 – Blend on high for a few minutes or until you have achieved a very smooth consistency. If you blend it long enough you shouldn’t have any lumpy bits.
Step 6 – Pour into tall glasses and enjoy. Then get ready to make another one…because it’s just that good.