I love fresh fruit! My Dad is from the Dominican Republic and I have had many opportunities in life to be spoiled with the fruit fresh from the trees in the Dominican. Likely where my love of mangoes began! It is simply one of the most flavorful and beautiful fruits in the world! A ripe diced or sliced mango is like “heaven on a plate”.
So where do mangoes originate from? And what are their main nutritional benefits? And how can you peel one efficiently?!
Mangoes originate from Southeast Asia, where they have been grown for over 4000 years! Over the years mango trees have spread to many parts of the tropical and sub tropical world.
A mango tree is an evergreen tree. It will grow up to 60 feet tall! Within 4-6 years of planting a mango tree it will start to bear fruit. They will continue to bear fruit for about 40 years!! The trees require hot and dry periods as well as defined seasons in order to produce good crop. In North America most of our mangoes come from Mexico, Haiti, the Caribbean and South America. Mango season is typically from May to September.
Harvesting of mangoes takes place when they are “mature green” in order for them to travel long distances. I’m sure like me you’ve come across many non ripe mangoes in the grocery store! But they do continue to ripen once you take them home. Phew :)! To decrease ripening time leave mangoes at room temperature and place inside a brown paper bag. They will continue to get sweeter and softer. Don’t use the color of a mango to gauge ripeness. Rather push your finger into the skin and it should give slightly if it is ripe. Similar to how an avocado or peach would feel when ripe. Once ripe move to the refrigerator to slow further ripening. They keep well for up to about 3 days once ripe. A ripe mango will have a full fruity aroma emitting from the stem area. Good luck in your ripe mango hunting!
Besides their superb taste, creamy smooth and silky texture, mangoes actually offer a digestive enzyme similar to papain in papayas that can help with digestion of proteins and act as a soothing digestive aid. These digestive enzymes also make effective meat tenderizers and many chefs will use mangoes and papayas for this purpose. Mangoes are also a good source of Vitamin A and C as well they contain beta carotene. They contain decent amounts of B1, B2, B3, and B6 vitamins and a touch of zinc. Mangoes are nutrient dense foods with low calories at only 110 calories per average sized mango. They are also a good source of daily fiber measuring in at approximately 3.7grams per mango. Fiber is important to everyone’s overall health! Mangoes also have only 4 grams of sodium and approx .6grams of fat. What a perfect snack!
You may be surprised to find out that mangoes are in the sumac family. The same family as pistachios, cashews, poison oak and poison ivy! Just an interesting fact. As is the fact that mango juice can permanently stain your clothes! So when cutting and peeling perhaps wear an apron if you are messy :).
I always found peeling a mango quite the hassle, until I found a nifty video that I will share with you here! Check it out and stop wasting half of your mango from poor peeling techniques :). WATCH HERE!
How will you enjoy your mango? Will you just peel the skin and eat it like an apple? Messy..but I like it! Mangoes can be sliced or diced into fruit salads and green salads. You can make a mango chutney with diced mango, diced onions, a touch of vinegar, salt and dried chiles and even some fresh mint! (which I LOVE served with fish!). Pureed in a blender a mango adds a great lively flavor to a smoothie! There really are so many ways to incorporate mangoes into your nutrition plan! Green Mango salad which is often seen on Thai restaurant menus is also one of my favorite ways to enjoy the delicious fruit! Check out this recipe!
Green Mango Salad is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen’s cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion
GREEN MANGO SALAD
Yield: 5 to 6 servings
2 unripe mangoes, peeled and cut into 1 x 1/4-inch (2.5 x .5 cm) slivers 1/2 cup (120 ml) purple onions, sliced vertically 1/2 cup (120 ml) diced jicama 1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped roasted unsalted peanuts 1/4 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) julienne 3 green onions (green part only) slivered into 1-inch (2.5 cm) lengths 2 tablespoons organic canola oil 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1/2 to 1 jalapeno chile, minced or dash cayenne 1 1/2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint leaves 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt 5 to 6 butter lettuce leaves
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Combine the mangoes, onions, jicama, peanuts, red bell pepper, green onions, canola oil, vinegar, chile, evaporated cane juice, sesame oil, lime juice, mint, and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss well to distribute the ingredients evenly. Refrigerate for 3 to 8 hours to fully marinate the mangoes.
- Place a lettuce leaf on each plate and spoon the mango salad into the leaf. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and serve.
Until next time, keep the fresh produce on your plate and enjoy my favorite fruit with me! An exquisite mango!