Friday, July 1, 2011

Fruit by the Foot - Village Style

Food Security is a major initiative for Peace Corps in Mali (and other PC countries). Essentially the concept of food security is anything that has to do with improving availabilty, accesibilty or utilization of food. We are just now reaching the end of mango season here. During peak season, the country explodes with mangoes. No joke. In some regions mangoes go to waste when everything ripens at the same time. Supply far outweighs demand and infrastructure is not in place to preserve fresh produce.

So...I decided to try my luck at drying mangoes in an effort to have better access to mangoes in the off season and possibly share this approach with those in my village. My first attempt at drying mango slices ended in a chewy and dusty mess. Turning to fruit leather was a vast improvement.

As mango season is winding down I will have to put this project on the back burner until next season. But when mango season rolls around next year I'll be ready.

Start with 3 softball sized mangoes. Not too hard, not too soft. 


Add 1 spoonful of sugar per mango, a bit of water and bring the fruit to a boil. As it heats, the fruit will soften into a sauce. I used a fork to mash up any stray chunks.

Remove sauce from heat and let cool.

 Pour sauce onto a lightly greased tray.

Cover in a way that still allows air flow. The contraption I used is something that Malian women use to sift rice or millet. The sifter is for sale in our village market daily.

Find a hot dry place to dry. During hot season with temps reaching +110 degrees most days this was not difficult to find. I chose our front yard. Drying took approx 2.5 days.

Once fruit is dried, remove cover. Check for dust or bugs. Rinse off if necessary and allow to dry again. Cut off the edges.

Cut into strips.



  1. Awesome. Just roll it up with a little waxed paper strip and sell it to American kids for $.50 each. :)

  2. Look at you! The fruit leather looks quite tasty. Now how much can you scale up production during the next peak mango season?

  3. Brilliant! During the off Mango season, what is the primary fruit source? I really enjoy reading your stories! Hope you are well.