The plant has been highly honored and exalted in its native land from time immemorial and today is considered one of the most popular fruits in the world.
Since the mango seed is too big to be carried by water or wind, historians believe that Persian traders carried mango seeds with them to the Middle East.
During the 16th century, the sea-faring Portuguese introduced the mango to Africa, who then took their tasty cargo to Brazil in the 1700s.
Today, more and more consumers are discovering the unique, mouth-watering flavor of the nutritious mango, making it an essential part of their shopping lists.
Mangoes are found abundantly in the long hot summer months in India and now even here in the US.
The first legal shipment of Indian mangoes to the United States (US) in decades landed at New York’sKennedy International Airport on 27 April, 2007; 18 years after lifting a ban. This was probably the most eagerly anticipated fruit delivery ever for Indians living in the US.
Truly ‘the king of fruit‘ :
Below is a picture of the Mango Peti or Box that was bought in Devon for $35 in May 2007. There were 12 in a box. The mangoes were about the size of a large fist, which did not impress me at all. The alphonso mangoes that I have eaten in Mumbai used to be at least 2-3 fist sizes. big. Although, the taste was “out-of-this-world” ! They were delicious, sweet – fragrantly citrus yet had the richness like saffron.
A Comfort Food. Mangoes really can make you feel better! Beyond being delicious and rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, mangoes contain an enzyme with stomach soothing properties similar to pa-pain found in papayas. These comforting enzymes act as a digestive aid and can be held partially responsible for that feeling of contentment we experience during and after our daily mango ritual. Yes, it is quite natural to crave those mangoes!
A Tenderizing Agent : Mango, both in its green and ripe form is a very good tenderizing agent due to these same enzymes, therefore ideal to include in any marinade. In India they use a sour mango powder containing ground up green mangoes called Amchur, both as a seasoning and tenderizing aid.
As A Good Source Of Fiber : We all know the importance of fiber in our diets. If you are eating your mango-a-day, irregularity will not be a problem for you. Research has shown that dietary fiber has a protective effect against degenerative diseases, especially with regards to the heart; may help prevent certain types of cancer, as well as lowering blood cholesterol levels. An average sized mango can contain up to 40% of your daily fiber requirement. For those of you who are physically active, whether working out or constantly on the go, mangoes are also a great way to replenish that lost potassium. Deliciously rich in anti-oxidants, potassium and fiber – the mango is the perfect fruit!
Types of Mangoes
Types of Mangoes found in India
Types of Mangoes found in the US
- Valencia Pride
All these mangoes have their own different tastes. Some varieties of mango turn a deep red and gold when ripe, while other varieties remain green. There are two classes, “low fiber & high fiber”. High fiber usually are for juicing and the low fiber ones are the ones that are eaten.
Mango is the King of fruits. India is the largest producer and exporter of Mangoes in the world. India produces some 10 million tonnes of mangoes annually accounting for 52 per cent of the world output.
India grows the finest mangoes in the world. Andhra Pradesh is the second largest producer of mangoes in India next only to Uttar Pradesh.
Although more than a thousand varieties exist, only around 20 varieties are grown on commercial scale.Each variety has a unique taste and flavour. Most popular Mango varieties are Banganpalli, Neelam, Dusheri, Totapuri, Kesar and delicious ALPHONSO MANGO.
King of nutrition
Mango botanically known as Mangifera Indica, it is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C, and is believed to have originated in India over 4,000 years ago.Mangoes are an excellent source of carotene as compared to other fruits. Just 100 gms. of mango contain about 1990ug of beta-carotene (Vitamin A), which is much higher than in other fruits. The total carotenoids in mango increase with the stage of ripening. Eating mangoes in the season may provide a store of vitamin A in the liver. This is sufficient to last for the rest of the year and highly beneficial for the prevention of Vitamin A deficiency disorders like night blindness.
Mangoes, both ripe and unripe, are very good sources of Vitamin C. Up to 16 mg of Vitamin C are present in 100 gms. of mango. Both Vitamins A and C are anti oxidants and help to prevent free radical injury and thus reduce the risk of certain cancers. A ripe mango supplies 74 kcal per 100 gms. (mainly derived from fructose). Raw mangoes have fewer calories compared to ripe mangoes. The ripe mango fruit is also a good source of potassium and only traces of sodium makes it suitable for hypertensive patients.
- Rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C
- Low fat
- Saturated fat-free
- Very low sodium
Indian mango varieties
India is home to several varieties of mangoes. Each variety has a unique taste and flavour. The commercial varieties of mangoes include: Banginapalli, Totapuri (known locally as `Collector’), Suvarnarekha(Lalpari), Kothapalli Kobbari, Chinna Rasam, Cheruku Rasam, Pedda Rasam, Mallika (all these varieties are available locally), Neelam. Alphonso, Kesar, Langra, Dashehari, Fazili, Chousa, Ratole, Kaju, Mulgoa, Jahangir, Rumani, Himayat, Khatta Meetha, Panchadara Kalasa, Manjeera, Amrapali, Arkapuneet and Sindhu.
ALPHONSO MANGO :
Variously known as Alphonso, Alfonso, Alphanso, Hapus, Hapoos, Bombay variety, etc., this variety is often considered to be a king even amongst the ‘King of fruits’ and is widely considered to be the tastiest fruit in India. .Alphonso Mangoes are oval in shape and about 4 to 6 inches long. The skin of the ripe fruit is golden yellow in colour, but is inedible. It has a thin firm skin and a delicious pulp. The stone or seed is smaller than many varieties of mangoes and the yield of pulp is therefore much more than in many varieties.Many have tried planting cultivars of this famed variety in other parts of the world, but have not been able to match the original flavour of the Alphonso variety grown in the Konkan region of India. in the volcanic soil of this coastal zone.
- State/Region : Gujrat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh
- Time of Arrival : March end
- Characteristics : Excellent quality for pulping and canning, mainly exported as fresh fruit to other countries.
This is a leading variety of Gujarat with a red blush on the shoulders. Fruit size is medium, shape oblong. The mango has a high pulp content, and a saffron color (hence the Indianname- ‘Kesar’).
- State/Region : Gujrat, Sinhgad(near Pune) and Aurangabad
- Time of Arrival : From May 15
- Characterstics : Mainly used as a table fruit, ideal for pulping and juice extracts.
It is a commercial variety of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and also known as Chapta and Safeda. Fruit is large in size and obliquely oval in shape. The colour of the fruit is golden yellow.
This variety derives its name from the village Dashehari near Lucknow. It is a leading commercial variety of north India and one of the best varieties of our country. The fruit size is medium, shape is oblong to oblong oblique and fruit colour is yellow.
- State/Region: Uttar Ptadesh, Haryana and Punjab
- Time of Arrival : June 15- August 15
- Characterstics : Among the best varities in the country, it is very rich in Vitamin C.
This variety originated as a chance seedling in the orchard of a Talukadar of Sandila district Hardoi, U.P. It is commonly grown in northern parts of India due to its characteristic flavour and taste. Fruit is large in size, ovate to oval oblique in shape and light yellow in colour.
- State/Region : Lucknow
- Time of Arrival: June
- Characterstics : One of the most delicious fruits available in this season, it has an attractive size plus juicy characteristics.
Also known as the ‘Pires’ because of common belief that the Portugese cultivated the variety when they colonized Goain theKonkan region. It is possibly the No.2 mango from the Konkan region of India. Sold none taste quite like the Alphonso. The flavour is the result of a delicate balance And, if you are wondering what variety those delicious mangoes in the box you receive are,yes they will be Alphonso mangoes exclusively in wooden crates, it is sometimes more costly than the Alphonso variety as the cultivated crop size is decreasing. The Payri from Ratnagiri has its own cult following and often fetches higher market rate than the Alphonso mango. It is more colorful and has a unique beak at the bottom containing a watery pulp.
One of the most colorful mangoes from the Konkan region of India, it has a unique taste and flavour.As it has higher water content with ‘threads’ of fibre, it is normally sucked and not cut.
It is widely used to make various Indian products such as mango katki and chunda. It is a very large mango; weighing anywhere between 400 to 700 gms. per piece. It has a very thick skin, a small seed and a soft inside with little or no threads. It is also used to make ‘muramba’, a traditional recipe of mango pieces in sugar syrup.
One of the most affordable mango varieties, it is aptly called the ‘mango of the common man’, as it is sold widely in all parts of India. It has a unique shape and a very thick skin, which allows it to be transported loose, and without any packing. Extensively used to make mango pulp, it has a light flavor. It has a very small stone and therefore, a higher pulp yield.
- State/Region : Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu
- Time of Arrival : May-July end
- Characterstics : It has good keeping quality, but is susceptible to bacterial spots.
Another Indian variety that is widely consumed, the Neelam, is often seen in Indian markets just before the monsoons. Neelams are quite sweet if a little acidic in taste.
- State/Region:Orissa, Karnataka, Tamilnadu
- Time of Arrival:June end- August
- Characterstics : Mostly used for processing purposes.
Selecting Your Mango
Mangoes aren’t usually labeled with their variety names, but it’s worth asking the fruit seller what’s available. This way you will be able to take advantage of the differences in taste and texture.
The size of a mango depends on the variety; it is not an indicator of quality or ripeness. Although there are differences in color according to variety, most mangoes start off green and develop patches of gold,yellow,orred as they ripen (except for the Keitt,which stays primarily green,with only a hint of yellow).The Alphonso on the other hand,is one of the few mangoes that turns entirely golden yellow when ripe.
A ripe mango will yield to slight pressure when held between your hands. The skin should show a blush of either yellow-orange or red,which will increase in area as the fruit ripens.With a few notable exceptions like the Keitt, a completely greenish-gray skin indicates that the mango will not ripen properly.
A perfectly ripe mango will have an intense, flowery fragrance. Black speckles on the skin are characteristic of this fruit as it ripens,but an overabundance of black spots on a ripe mango, may indicate damage to the flesh beneath.A loose or shriveled skin is also a sign of a mango past its prime.
Under ripe mangoes are best left at cool room temperature for a few days to soften and sweeten. Extremely warm temperatures can cause the entire lot of mangoes to ripen too quickly. Placing mangoes together in a paper bag, or preferably in hay, can speed the ripening process (or, if you don’t have many mangoes, put another fruit such as an apple with the mango). Choose the soft and sweet smelling mangoes and place them in a bowl of water at room temperature for about 15 minutes. This is very important. The mango is warm inside as the ripening process is going on. This stops the ripening process and brings out the best flavour of the mango.Ripe mangoes will last for two to three days in the refrigerator.
Preparing a mango for the table
The flesh of the mango clings to both the sturdy skin as well as the large, flat stone in the middle. There are several methods of slicing mangoes,some more exotic and complex than others.However, the Indian slicing method is of ten the simplest and most effective.
In this method, all you have to do is hold the mango in an upright position (as it would hang from the tree). Then, holding it firmly, slice each cheek of the mango, leaving about one finger’s width of the center. A band of fruit will remain around the stone (seed). Use a paring knife to carefully loosen each half-fruit from its skin, then cut them into cubes, being careful not to slice through the skin. You can then turn the fruit inside-out so the cut side pops outward, and slice the cubes off the skin. Cut away the band of fruit left around the seed, then peel off the skin.
King of Cuisine
Mangoes make an exotic addition to fruit salads and can be pureed to make sorbets and ice creams, milk shakes, juices, jam, jellies, pickles and mango papad. Small ripe mangoes can be made into mouth-watering curries with coconut and buttermilk. Prawns and fish preparations taste well with raw, sour mangoes. Raw mango pickle and chutney titillate the taste buds. Peeled unripe mangoes can be cut into small thin pieces and dried in the sun after being seasoned with turmeric powder. This dried mango is known as `amchur’ powder and is used as a souring agent in Indian cookery. The mango seeds are also edible. It is collected in the season, dried in the shade and powdered and stored to make many dishes. Here are a few mango-based recipe that you can try at home:
Aamras(Mango juice) is the special marathi menu in the summer for festivals and special occasions.
- 1 litre ripe mango juice
- 3/4 cup milk, chilled
- 200 gram sugar
Method : Combine all ingredients.Blend until smooth and creamy. It is most delicious menu with Puran Poli(a special maharashtrian sweet dish).
Spicy Mango Salsa
- 2 cups diced fresh mango
- 2 cups fresh peaches
- 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 pepper corns
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Method : In a large bowl, mix together the mangoes, peaches or nectarines, garlic, ginger and basil or cilantro. Then add a dash of pepper and the lime juice. Allow the whole mixture to chill for at least 2 hours and voila your mango salsa is ready!
- 2 1/2 cups peeled and sliced ripe mango
- 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Pastry for two-crust pie, 9-inch
Method : Combine mango slices, tapioca, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Toss to combine; let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.Roll out half the pastry thinly line the 9-inch pie pan with it.Roll out remaining pastry very thin. Fill shell with fruit mixture; moisten edge of crust. Place the top crust on filling, make several slits in top crust to vent steam. Trim top crust leaving it just a little larger than the pan. Press top crust and moistened bottom crust edge together; fold excess top under the bottom edge. Flute all around rim. Bake mango pie at 425 for about 50 to 60 minutes,or until top is well browned.
- 1 ripe mango, chopped – (approx.1-1/4 cups)
- 3/4 cup milk, chilled
- 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ice cubes
- pinch of salt
- fresh mint sprigs
Method : Combine all ingredients except mint in blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Garnish with mint.
Mango Health Shake
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup chopped mango
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 2 tsp. ground flax seed
- 1/2 tsp. wheat germ
- 2 vitamin C tablets
Method : Combine all ingredients in blender and blend about 1-2 minutes until smooth.
Indian Mango Salad
- 1 large ripe mango, peeled
- 1 tbsp. groundnut oil
- 1 small hot red chilly, seeded and chopped
- Small piece ginger, peeled and grated.
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- Grated zest of a lime
- 250 ml natural yogurt
- Dice the mango into small dice and put into a small bowl with any juice.
- Warm the oil in a small frying pan and cook the chilly, ginger and mustard seeds until the seeds start to pop.Add the lime zest and remove from the heat.
Stir gently into the mango and set aside. When cool, mix with the yogurt and season with salt. Serve with grilled fish or meat.
“Mango is like a drug. You must have more and more and more of the Mango until there is no Mango left. Not even for Mango!”