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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

Meet Mary Mango, Kailua’s Super Tree

Steve Hayslip with the produce of Mary Mango | Diana Helfand photo

Mary is the name lifelong Kailua resident Steve Hayslip has given to the 45-year-old Mapalehu mango tree – first planted on Molokai by Joe Welch in 1929, and cuttings were brought to Oahu – that he calls a member of the family. Mary’s fruit won third place out of 45 entries at the Mangoes at the Moana last month, and he plans to return next year.

This is no ordinary tree, having withstood three hurricanes, a flood, droughts and hailstones, and it still produces 500 or more mangoes a year.

The mangoes have made lifelong friends for Steve. One of these friends just passed away at age106 – Steve took him man-goes every season for the past 35 years. The fruit has been taken to hospitals and hospices, and given to husbands whose pregnant wives had cravings for them.

Steve, a journeyman carpenter by trade, is also an avid fisherman who goes to Alaska once a year, and to the Big Island and Molokai, to fish. He is a master at growing orchids, gardenias, roses and all kinds of plants that he tends.

Some of Steve’s mango growing tips: When flowers first appear, fertilize, and don’t give the tree too much water or over trim the branches. He hangs fruit fly traps with pheromones in gallon jugs explaining that it traps male fruit flies so the females can’t get pregnant and don’t eat the fruit, preventing black spots from forming on the fruit.

Here’s to Steve and Mary for being goodwill ambassadors for the mighty mango!

Mangoes are fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free, an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and copper.

Try this bread for an afternoon snack with a cup of hot herbal tea, or for dessert topped with a scoop of low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt. It also freezes well; cut into slices, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and store in freezer bag. For the taste of a just-baked slice, pop in the microwave for 10-12 seconds.

MIGHTY MANGO WALNUT BREAD

4 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup lightly pureed mango
1 tablespoon orange peel
3 tablespoons non-GMO canola oil
2-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup bite-size firm mango chunks
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray loaf pan with cooking spray.

Beat together egg whites, and sugar until smooth. Add mango puree, orange peel and canola oil and beat until just combined.

Sift flour with baking powder and slowly add to mango mixture until well combined. Fold in mango chunks and half the walnuts. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining walnuts.

Bake for about 55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean from center. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, remove from pan and transfer to wire rack. Makes 12 slices.

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