*My Oxford Dictionary notes that in the plural, both mangoes and mangos are correct.)
I love mangoes—sliced, blended, dried; naked or camouflaged in a smoothie; room temperature or chilled. No matter. They are one of my favorite summer fruits, which I enjoy eating over the sink, with my arms dripping from mango juice.
Fortunately, mangoes are not only delicious; they are also good for you and can easily qualify for a food that earns my â€œGood Taste of Healthâ€ seal of approval. In fact, the mango is called the king of fruit, although because a ripe mangoâ€™s flesh is soft and juicy, I would say itâ€™s more the queen of fruit.
While the mango originally came from Southeast Asia, this sunny fruit has been grown in Brazil and the West Indies since the 18th century, and then it made its way to Florida, Hawaii, and Mexico by the end of the 18th century. According to one source (â€œAnatomy of a Mango,â€ WebMD, June 2006), just one half of a mango will provide 40% of the RDAs for Vitamin A and 15% of Vitamin C. That same 1/2 mango has 70 calories and as much as 20% of your daily fiber requirement. While mangoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants+, perhaps their best attribute are the enzymes+ that act as a digestive aid, much like the papain found in papayas.
The mango tree is actually an evergreen that grows to 60 feet tall and will bear fruit from four to six years after planting. There are 1,000 varieties of this wonderful fruit, but eating just one may turn you into a mango maniac. (I already am!)
Choosing a ripe mango is fairly easy. Donâ€™t be fooled by the color, since a ripe mango can be red, yellow, green or orange, or some combination of these colors, although a yellow tinged mango is considered the best-flavored. Just press on the skin and if it yields to gentle pressure, itâ€™s ready. You can also put an unripe mango in a paper bag overnight to ripen. It also has a fairly good shelf life, about one to two weeks, when kept at about 55 degrees in your refrigerator. But don’t wait that long to eat one. It’s too delicious to wait!
Peeling a mango is like tackling a pineapple or watermelon. There are many different ways to cut, slice it, and then enjoy it. I recommend you go to www.freshmangos.com/allaboutmangos for pictures of the different ways to cut and to eat a mango. I score my mangoes in quarters, peel away the skin, and then slice it until I reach the pit, which can be small or large, depending on the variety and size of the mango. Or I cut away the quarter with the skin on, and then cube it before removing the skin. See photo above.) The taste is well worth the effort!
Any way you slice it and eat it, mangoes are marvelous. Here are just two or three recipes to try. The website has recipes, as well. Basically, I just enjoy them as is, whole and juicy, just dripping with goodness and flavor!
+Words in bold italics can be found in the Glossary. (See category marked Glossary in the upper right hand corner of the home page.)
MANGO SLUSHIE OR SMOOTHIE
one organic mango, peeled and chopped
one banana, peeled
1/2- 1 cup liquid (water, juice, almond milk, etc.)
Dried coconut (unsweetened) or almond slivers
Place 1/2 cup liquid in blender. Add fruit and puree. For a slushie, place in freezer for a few minutes. For a smoothie, add more liquid to pourable consistency, sprinkle with almonds or coconut and enjoy.
Summer Ambrosia Fruit Salad
Ingredients(any or all)
One organic mango, peeled, pitted and cubed
1/4 fresh pineapple, cubed or diced
one organic peach, cubed or diced
1/2 cup papaya, peeled, pitted and cubed or diced
citrus juice-orange, grapefruit, or pineapple
dried cconut, unsweetened
Placed all the peeled, cubed or diced fruit in a bowl. Add a small amount of citrus juice to keep fruit from drying out. Place in colorful bowl and sprinkle on coconut. Serve not too cold to enjoy all the flavors.
Note: Feel free to use any organic summer fruits that are available, such as kiwi, grapes, bananas.
Sunshine (Mango) Salsa
1/2-1 cup Vidalia onion- chopped
one organic yellow tomato, chopped (about 2 c.)
one organic orange bell pepper, chopped (about 1 c.)
1/4 fresh pineapple, chopped (about 1 c.)
1/2-1 cup chopped mango
juice of one organic lime (or lemon)
dash of salt (optional)
Place all the chopped ingredients ina bowl. Pour on juice of one lime and a dash of salt. Stir and allow flavors to mingle. Serve with any entree that could use the light taste of this salsa. Yield: 4-5 cups
Note: Feel free to change the proportions to your liking, but please try to buy organic tomatoes and bell peppers, both of which can be heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Also, be sure to use sweet onions, such as Vidalias.