I haven’t always been a fan of mangoes. Perhaps it is the strong pine odor that made me feel like I was biting into a pine tree and had its sap run down my chin, or the fact that the long fibrous strands of the fruit made it necessary to floss immediately after eating it.

But eventually, I grew to appreciate mangoes and happily incorporated them into my lifestyle. The problem I have been facing most recently is the winter mango syndrome. Here’s what happens. I go to the store, and see wooden crates of mangoes among the typical winter-available produce (oranges, pears, apples left from the fall). The mangoes look exotic and regal next to the other fruit, and they are on sale! How could I possibly resist?

I test each mango before it gently lands in my grocery basket. First, I go for the visual clues – not too much green skin, no brown discolorations, I want vibrant yellows, oranges, and maroons. Next, I give the fruit a squeeze – the flesh needs to give a bit to the touch, but still be firm. And then I smell it – there is a hint of tropics. I’m good to go.

I get home, slice through the mango…and then, there it is – the winter syndrome. The perfect looking mango is completely brown inside and inedible, most likely from a frost bite. Directly into the garbage it goes.