Living in the “Campo” is quiet, beautiful, peaceful and all we hoped it would be. Living in the country does, however, have its challenges. Thankfully, most lessons learnt from mother nature are not harmful nor painful. This week, however, has been chock-full of somewhat painful lessons. I am happy to report that I am recovering nicely from my encounter with Senõr Millipede but now have another unfortunate irritant to deal with. Could you believe it? I have a Mango allergy!
Yes, pretty ironic given my extreme love for this fruit and our abundance of these delectable spheres. You might recall my unfortunate encounter with the Carrasco plant back in December. I vaguely remember reading at the time that those who are allergic to poison ivy, oak, sumac and their ilk will likely also be sensitive to the mango plant. The common denominator amongst all plants is the chemical urushiol. In case of the mango, this chemical is present in high concentrations in the tree’s sap.
I’ve always enjoyed Mangoes to no ill effect so I conveniently forgot this fact. That is, until I picked a mango off the tree the other day (there was a nice big green mango that just screamed out “mango chutney” material) and managed to get some sap on my upper arm. A day later, little bumps appeared followed by those nasty little blisters. Nothing too bad, but still a painful reminder that urushiol and I do not play well together. Not one to be easily deterred, I placed an on-line order for Ivy Block and limited myself to mango collection until the barrier product arrived.
Unfortunately for me, urushiol is also present in (and sometimes on) the mango’s skin. When preparing the fruit, extreme care has to be taken so as not to transfer any sap onto the fruit itself (or onto oneself). My slightly puffy lips suggest that I have NOT been careful enough in removal of all present sap before cutting the fruit or have been cutting the fruit too close to the skin.
Of course, staying away from Mangoes is NOT an option. My new rules of engagement vis-à-vis Mangoes are:
- Apply Ivy Block before visiting the Mango Tree
- Use disposable gloves and insane amount of soap and water to wash fresh fruit
- Use multiple knifes for cutting
- Absolutely NO tasting of fruit while cutting
If all else fails, I can always fall back on my last resort: Put Nick on mango duty! 😀
Miri’s Mango Chutney Production… Hopefully, it will not come to this!