The mango fruit can be kidney shaped, oval or round. They grow on long, string like stems in twos or threes and can be from 2 to 9 inches long. The weight can vary from 8 to 24 ounces. The skin is waxy and smooth with a leathery appearance. Mangoes are green when raw and can be pale green, yellow, orange or red when ripe depending on the variety.
The ripe fruit is sweet, fleshy and juicy and has a single, large, kidney shaped seed. Some varieties have a lot of fiber. Mango trees bear fruit during alternate.
India has appoximately a 100 varieties of mangoes which come in different sizes, shapes and colours.
Mangoes can be traced back to a Hindu scripture that dates back to 4000 BCE. The wild mango is believed to have originated in the foothills of the Himalayas of India and Burma.
The mango is one of the most familiar fruit trees to be found in the backyards or gardens of India.
Mangoes are extremely high in Vitamin A and they also contain beta carotene. The darker the orange colour of the mango, the more vitamin A it contains. Mangoes contain a lot of Vitamin C too!
Mangos are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They also contain an enzyme with stomach soothing properties similar to papain which is found in papayas. Papain acts as a digestive aid.
Mango is an excellent tenderizer due to the presence of papain. In India, sour green mangoes are ground into a powder known as amchur which is used as a seasoning and tenderizing aid.
The dietary fiber contained in mangoes has a protective effect against degenerative diseases, in preventing certain types of cancer as well as lowering blood cholesterol levels. Mangoes also contain a large amount of potassium and are good for people who work out a lot or are physically very active.
Some people can be allergic to mangoes as the mango belongs to the same family as poison ivy and contains urushiol. Such people get dermatitis if they touch mango peel or sap. However if the fruit is peeled and given to them they usually have no such problem. The peel is inedible and consuming it causes a painful rash or swelling on the lips and face.
The mango is used in southeast Asia as a supplement for sexual potency.
How to buy and store
Buy mangoes that are firm yet yield to gentle pressure. A ripe mango has a strong aroma and the colour can can range from yellow to orange-red. The colour alone is not a good indication of ripeness. Avoid selecting mangoes with blemishes or soft spots. Ripe mangoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Store firm, unripe mango at room temperature to ripen. Unlike many other fruit mangoes can be purchased when completely hard and stored at room temperature to ripen. This takes up to a week. Placing them in a paper bag speeds up the process of ripening.
Mangoes can be bought canned in syrup, pickled, or as chutneys. Dried mango slices can also be found in most supermarkets.
To eat a mango or to use it for a recipe cut off the top and then peel off the skin from top to bottom. Cut into lengthwise slices, cutting along the pit. The mango can also be cut into cubes.
In India raw mangoes are used in hot spicy chutneys. Ripe mangoes are often dried and layered and sold as fruit bars called aam papad. People also consume ``am ras which is thick mango juice. Sour, unripe mangoes are eaten with salt along with food. Mangoes are also used in muesli.
In the Philippines, unripe mango are eaten with bagoong while in other parts of South-east Asia, mangoes are very popular pickled with fish sauce and rice vinegar.
Mangoes, ripe and raw, are used to make juices. Ripe mango bits are used in ice cream and to make thick milkshakes.
In Thailand sweet, sticky,coconut flavored rice is served with sliced mangoes as a desert.
In India restaurants serve a beverage called Lassi which is made with mango, yogurt and sugar.
How to Enjoy Mangoes
- Peel the mango and eat like a banana.
- Mangoes can diced and added to fruit salads or to green salads.
- Mangoes can be added to smoothies and milkshakes.
- Make a chutney with chopped mango, finely diced onions, a little vinegar, salt, and chilies.
- Diced mango can be added to cereals or can be used as a garnish.
- Ripe mangoes can be used in sorbets.
Mango is used in skin care products to rejuvenate the skin as it is extremely high in vitamin A. Vitamin A helps in skin repair through increasing the rate of new cell formation.
To make a natural exfoliatant, mash a mango along with a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of almond meal. Massage onto clean skin for 5-10 minutes. Wash off with warm water.
- Mango Info
- [www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/Morton/Mango_arS.html About Mangoes]
- PCC Natural Markets
- Mango Recipes
- Mango for Beauty