The Philippine mangoes’ unequalled sweetness and juiciness make them one of the country’s top food exports. And this is why the Department of Science and Technology’s Industrial Technology Development Institute is constantly discovering other possible mango byproducts to offer to the domestic and international markets. The agency has actually stumbled into another way of preserving mango: Leathering, or turning it into candy.
[related|post]Mango leathers are considered high-value products and they are within reach of the A, B, and C markets. The processing may be simple, but the yield may not be ideal for a backyard operation. Five kilos of mangoes usually produce less than a kilo of mango leather. Despite the high capital investment and longer payback period, there may be a huge potential in the product since there is a dearth in mango leather in the market. And with the healthy trend gaining momentum, the market maybe ripe for this new mango offering.
· table-ripe carabao mangoes
· white sugar
· Calcium carbide
· Stainless spoons and tray
· Weighing scales
· refractometer (a device that measures the fruits’ sweetness. It can be bought from laboratory equipment suppliers )
1) Choose quality mangoes by checking if they are the right variety, ripeness (the fruits’ sweetness should be 15 degrees to 17 degrees Brix on the refractometer), and are free of fungus or any insect infestation.
2) Wash the mangoes with tap water to remove dirt, then sanitize by soaking in chlorinated water for 10 minutes. Also, start sanitizing the utensils and the area where the mangoes will be processed. It is ideal to work on a clean table with a formica top.
3) Slice the mango off the bone, scoop out the meat, and then puree in a blender. Measure the puree’s sweetness by dropping a bit of it on the refractometer. The puree should be 20 degrees Brix; add refined sugar if it’s less than the desired sweetness.
4) To determine how much sugar is needed, subtract the desired reading (20 Brix) from the actual reading. Then divide it by 80 (the difference between 100, the measure of pure sugar sweetness, and 20, the desired sweetness). Multiply the quotient with the puree’s weight. If the puree weighs five kilos and its actual sweetness is 17 Brix, the calculation would be: 20 minus 17 = 3. Divide that by 80 and multiply by 5 = 0.1875 kilos or 187.5 grams.
5) Next is pasteurizing the mixture. Heat the puree over the stove at 80 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes using a double boiler. This step kills microorganisms and enzymes. Then pour the puree onto stainless steel trays. Spread evenly by tapping the tray, making a mango leather of about one millimeter thick. A five-kilo mango puree would use up to two and half regular-sized stainless steel trays.
6) Either sundry the mango puree or dry it using a machine. Sun dry the puree from three to four days, taking care that no insect would contaminate the trays. The rolls would turn brownish instead of yellowish when dried under the sun.
7) A fabricated dryer can process up to 250 kilos of mango leather, but it costs P300,000. With this machine, the puree can be dried at 50 degrees Celsius for an hour, then to 60 to 65 degrees in the next seven to nine hours. After drying, let the mango leather rest for 18 hours. This process allows the mango leather to sweat to balance its moisture content.
Finally, take the mango leather from the tray, and then roll them on confectioners’ or plain sugar. Cut them into inch-thick strips and place them inside plastic packets. Oriental polyprophyline laminated with polyethylene (OPPE) metalized plastic is an ideal packaging material