by Teri Pizza
Mangos…you see them in recipes everywhere – mango marinades, mango muffins, even mango martinis. Commonly known as the most popular fruit in the world, there’s a reason this tropical treat is everyone’s favorite – it’s sweet and juicy, tastes delicious, and can be harvested twice annually, making it available and enjoyable all year round.
History suggests mangos originated in Southeast Asia and India, where references to the fruit are documented in Hindu writings that date as far back as 4,000 B.C.
Mango seeds are thought to have traveled with humans to areas in the world with the tropical climates necessary for them to thrive – from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa and South America beginning around 300 or 400 A.D.
While large-scale production is limited in the United States, mangos have been grown for about a century in tropical climates found in Florida, California, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Because mangos are indigenous to so many cultures, they’re naturally a part of almost all of the cuisines in the countries where they grow. Mangos are popular in street food and on restaurant menus throughout Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, India, the Caribbean Islands and everywhere mango trees thrive.
The unique sensory characteristics of the mango work well with global spice blends and cooking techniques from fiery chilies to mellow coconut to alluring curries. Fresh mangos compliment any meal or menu; everything from morning smoothies to midnight snacks.
Selecting and Storing
- To determine ripeness, gently squeeze the fruit
- If the mango is ripe, it should give a little
- Leave immature fruit at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate.
Enjoy the Madness
A simple way to enjoy mangos is to cut the fruit lengthwise next to its pit, as if you were cutting an apple next to its core. Cut both sides, then score the fruit of each slice lengthwise and across, in a grid pattern – see image – just don’t cut through the skin. Hold each half, peel touching palm, and press up from underneath. The fruit will raise up making it easy to cut “cubes” from the peel.
The mango’s mighty health benefits
- Dermatologists have declared the mango one of the top five foods for creating beautiful skin,
- A great source of vitamin A and flavonoids, mangos also contain good amounts of vitamins B6, C and E.
No wonder it’s considered the world’s favorite fruit. Come on, grab a mango; join the madness!
Do you have a favorite mango recipe? Share it in the comments below!