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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Fermentation: "Burong Mangga" (Fermented Green Mangoes)

Burong Mangga
Burong Mangga (2-wk ferment)
I learned something new this year...I learned how to make THE REAL Burong Mangga...as in FERMENTED. Not just submerged in brine for 3 days then consumed...but submerged in brine for more than two weeks to PRESERVE them in the lactic acid formed by the process.  The process of fermentation increases nutrient availability, enhances digestibility, and provides PROBIOTICS. Probiotics enhance gut health and boost the immune system.

Burong Mangga is the first ever fermentation experiment I have ever done. Although the first time I made burong mangga (the 3-5 days kind) was when I was in the Philippines, as taught by my then MIL, who had a HE major.

But I have been interested in fermentation since I got into homemade yogurt making for the purpose of getting probiotics. The main bacteria in the yogurt is the lactobacillus. It reminded me of Yakult in my childhood days. And when I started researching more about fermentation, I learned that the same bacteria are in fermented vegetables and fruits.
Green mangoes
Fresh Green Mangoes
Since burong mangga was my first fermentation experiment, getting my green mangoes at that time made me panic. I rushed to get some of them fermented, then I canned the rest using the syrup method or the vinegar pickle method.  Unlike fermentation, these other methods require that I heat up the canned products for longer storage, just as peaches are canned using the USDA guidelines of food preservation.  The result: loss of crunch, and nutrients. I have long finished all my jars of burong mangga and I have only finished one jar of the heavy syrup type. There is no comparison.
Green mangoes in medium syrup
Non-fermented method of preserving = dead food
When I made burong mangga, I did not have the proper equipment. But I learned a lot. I had no air lock system, so everyday, I would open the jars and remove the whitish scum on top of the brine. On days that I forgot, I would have more to remove, or it would get black molds -- the bad type. I had to discard the jars with black molds.

I just winged the strength of my brine, judging by the taste. It had to be just the right saltiness for my tongue. No chlorine in water. I used well water, but ideally it should have been filtered. In any case, the saltiness probably was still too strong, because my babies started to ferment (as evidenced by active bubbling) after about 5 days. When this bubbling became more vigorous, it was an indication that the lactic acid bacteria are dominating the other microbes...so that the lactic acid they were producing was inhibiting the growth of other unwanted bacteria or yeast, and at the same time preserving, even enhancing the nutrient content of the mangoes.

By the end of two weeks, I decided it was time to taste them.  While the top parts (the parts that floated above the brine) were quite mushy (so I removed and discarded them), the submerged parts were crunchy. And OMG! They almost taste alcoholic!

This video will show you how the bubbles rise during the initial fermentation stage then during the active fermentation, when bubbles are so much they create pressure in an air-tight jar, so that opening it is almost like opening a bottle of soda that was shaken first.  And the crunch! Oh wow!  Hear the crunch as I bite into one of these babies...

I shared some with an American co-worker who is also into pickling (the vinegar-type ones; we have been exchanging pickles and recipes). And she LOVED IT. I gave her the rest of the content of that jar I brought to work.
fermenting vegetables
 After this first stint in fermenting, I then ventured into making fermented cabbage: sauerkraut.  This time, I had the proper equipment to maintain an air lock system, both small-scale (using half-gallon jars) and bigger-scale (using a 20 L-capacity fermenting crock that hubby bought for me). I started with small-scale three times; failed in the first two and succeeded in the third.  Then I made three batches of the bigger-scale.  By my third batch of the bigger-scale sauerkraut production, it was the best I have ever made. I dare to say I have perfected the method.
20 L fermenting crock
The basic rules I have for fermenting are: (1) ferment within 24 hours of picking or as soon as possible as the LAB will be maximized that way; (2) Add sea salt at 2% to 3% by weight (for watery veggies like cabbage; or to add per liter of filtered well water -- no chlorine); (3) keep it anaerobic and do not let air in for at least two weeks to give the LAB a headstart without contamination; (4) submerge the produce in brine away from air; and (5) leave enough air space for expansion as the ferment produce more bubbles and thereby expand.

Next June, I will order my mangoes again and this time make all of them into burong mangga.  And next time, I will use the proper equipment.  The air lock system will eliminate the need to remove scum, and will give the best flavor and minimize the contaminants.

And this will be the procedure I will use:

Use only firm, freshly picked green mangoes. I have no access to this, but the freshest I can get will be from a vendor in Florida, the Erickson Farm. I pre-ordered the previous ones. They picked them and shipped right away when it was the right time to harvest.

For every liter of filtered unchlorinated water (preferably well water), add 1 tbsp to 1-1/2 tbsp sea salt (approximately 2% to 3% brine).  Either pack the sliced mangoes into half-gallon or gallon glass jars (I like the half-gallon because I can use the wide-mouth lids. I made my own air-lock system using Tattler reusable lids, 1/2" drill bit and 1/2' grommets.) Submerge the sliced mangoes in the brine. Put some brine into a heavy-duty ziploc bag and use that as weight to keep mango slices submerged. Make sure you have at least 2 inches air space on top of the bag or brine. Use the air-lock system lid.  If using the fermentation crock, just fill up to about 3/4 of the container, use the weights provided, and place the lid on, then pour water into the "moat" on which the lid sits to create an air seal.
Keep at room temp for at least two weeks. I will try next time to ferment up to four weeks or until I see bubbles become less active.


  1. Tama ang timeframe mo, Manang. My Lola would make burong mangga te same way (witout te equipment) and we would clean it everyday.

    After two weeks or so, the rest of the pickles would be placed inside the refrigerator. That way, we used to have burong mangga the whole year round.

    Was just telling a friend around a month ago that I should probably take it up again in the summer. I miss having a refrigerator filled with jars and jars of all sorts of buro.

    1. Before my husband and sons built our root cellar (was done this September), I used to joke to my husband that I needed another fridge for my ferments (dairy and veggies)...Now I have the whole root cellar to keep them vegetables at least. Temp there registers at 55-65ºF. WIll probably go down to 50's during winter.

  2. Molto interessante questa ricetta, pero da noi mango e molto caro. Le conserve li teniamo in una camera fatto aposta un po sottoterra. Italy


  3. hello am very impress by the method you are using please can you take me through it step by step to try it at home
    thank you

  4. thank you for sharing, guys.

  5. Just saw your video in YouTube, did you sterilize your jar before fermenting the mangoes?


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