Mango Lassi and Mango Fruit Flies in Mexico

Mango season continues in Mexico, as do the languid, humid days. Icy drinks help us forget the heat while we enjoy our bounty of mangoes on a tropical afternoon. Mango Lassi is a good way to enjoy these flavorful beauties and rehydrate at the same time. Lassis are cold fruit and yogurt drinks from India, reputed to aid digestion when taken with a spicy meal. They are so refreshing, so welcome on a hot afternoon, I don’t need the excuse of eating spicy food to enjoy one. Quick to whip up in the blender, they serve as one more way to enjoy the luscious, drippy, golden, succulant mangos that abound this time of year. Indulge me, please, and let me get away with an overuse of descriptive mango words. They really are that incredible.

Mango Lassi       serves 2

  • 1/2 cup (240 ml.) diced mango
  • 1/2 cup (240 ml.) plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ( 240 ml.) cold water
  • 1/2 cup (240 ml.) ice cubes
  • sugar or honey to taste, optional
  • pinch of ground cardamom, fennel or coriander
  • sliced or slivered almonds for garnish

Zizz all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into two ice cold glasses and garnish with sliced or slivered almonds. Listen to the sound of the greening bamboo leaves rustling in the moist breeze as you sip a mango lassi in Mexico. لسی

A large Kent mango, green on the outside when ripe

Are you squeamish, faint of heart and stomach, and generally a picky eater? If so, stop reading right now. If you choose to stay with me, don’t give me, “Oh, ewwww!” when you see me next. See those little tracks in the photo above, the tiny tunnels in cross section? They are most likely made by larvae of the Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens, the scourge of citrus and mangoes in Mexico. Some mangoes are so infested, they are inedible. This mango, the same one I used for the lassi, was not banished to the compost pile. It is a simple matter to trim out buggy parts, if you feel you must.

Mangoes for export are sprayed, as are many grown for domestic use. Malathion and diazinon are two of the chemical sprays used to treat mango trees. According to one source, both of these pesticides “harm children and farmworkers, poison wildlife, and taint food and drinking water”. Nice.

I know it is virtually impossible these days to be chemical-free, despite our efforts. Sprayed mangoes, the perfect ones in the super markets, can be had. The local mangoes I buy from my neighbors have evidence of fruit flies, so I will assume they are not sprayed. I don’t have a problem with eating a few bugs now and then. Years of living in Mexico has inured me to many types of other life forms: leggy spiders, winged termite clouds, six-legged tiny beings I can’t even categorize.

Indigenous people of Mexico and other countries, to this day, rely on insects for additional protein in their diet. Who am I to question the wisdom of centuries? The alternative is to continue adding to my body’s chemical cocktail accumulation. Just in case you are wondering, I also researched the safety of eating fruit flies and larvae. They are safe to ingest. Meat is meat.

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