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Melons: Honeydew »« Mandarins: Satsuma

Mango

Mangifera indica


Description

Mangoes are one of the most tropical of tropical fruits. The intensely fruity flavour and fragrance is a hit of golden sweetness, almost like pure sunshine in a fruit.

Mangoes vary in colour and size, but typically are some shade of red, yellow, or orange, with a flat stone inside that clings to the flesh.

Mangoes are a good source of the important antioxidants vitamins C and A in the form of beta carotene, as well as fibre and iron.

You can check the ripeness of a mango by scent. A ripe fruit will have a full, fruity smell, and the fruit will be slightly soft to touch, like a nectarine. Colour isn’t the way to go, because that varies between varieties, and even from mango to mango. If you buy a slightly unripe mango you can leave it in a paper bag at room temperature to accelerate the ripening. Once ripe, you can refrigerate it for a few days, but it should really be eaten as soon as possible. Don’t put it in the fridge until it’s fully ripe, though.

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History

Mangoes are native to the Indian subcontinent, and there are references to the fruit in Hindu writings that date back to 4000BC. From there, through human migration, they made their way to East Asia, and by 1000AD they were being cultivated in East Africa.

In the 16th century, imports into the American colonies began. Due to the lack of refrigeration, they had to be pickled, and a century later the phrase ‘to mango’ was being used to mean ‘to pickle’.

Uses

Mangoes are often eaten raw, with one of the easiest methods of preparation being the ‘hedgehog’ method. Slice the mango in two as close as you can to the stone, and with the flesh side up make diagonal gashes in the flesh, trying not to cut through the skin. Repeat the other way, so the gashes make diamond shapes. Then turn the piece of mango inside out, so the cut pieces of fruit splay out into a round shape.

Mango lassi is a popular Indian drink to cool down a hot curry: blend a cup of ripe mango, peeled and chopped, with a cup of plain yoghurt, half a cup of milk, sugar to taste and a dash of cardamom.

Facts

In Buddhism, the mango is a sacred fruit because it’s said that Buddha meditated beneath a mango tree. It’s also important in Hinduism; the god Ganesha is often depicted holding a mango to symbolise attainment.

Mangoes are also related to the pistachio and the cashew.



Melons: Honeydew »« Mandarins: Satsuma

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