This week has been filled with lots of sun and gardening, but mostly it’s been filled with mangoes. It’s the peak of their season here, which means the farm is in full production mode.
I have been placed in charge of drying the mangoes. Every day I collect a few kilos of mangoes, peel and slice them, and place them in the solar dryers.
The solar dryers are a really great way to utilize the sun with little cost or energy expenditure. Each dryer is equipped with 2-3 racks for the mangoes to dry on, made of mesh stretched over wooden bars. The lid of the dryer is clear plastic for the sun to shine through, and there is a small fan powered by a solar panel which allows the air to flow inside the dryer when the lid is closed and regulate the temperature so the mangoes have enough time to dry.
With two of these dryers on site, there is enough space to dry about two kilos of fresh sliced mango everyday, which will yield between ten and fifteen 25 gram packets of dried mangoes.
While this isn’t difficult, it is time consuming. The majority of my morning is spent cleaning the dryers and slicing mangoes, and the afternoon is spent packaging the mangoes that were removed from the dryer in the morning.
At this rate, I’m bound to be totally sick of mangoes by the time I head home. But I’m not quite tired of them yet, thank goodness, because next week starts an even more intense period of mango processing. We will be making jams, chutney, and juice concentrate, which means a whole lot of peeling and slicing mangoes. There are plenty of other tasks to be done as well, so I am sure I’ll get a break from the mangoes at some point!