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Mango - The King Of Fruits

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's Kennedy 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.


Inside the box............
Each mango was wrapped in a mesh. 

The Box was sealed tight but had vents on the box. When I picked up the box it did not have the strong alphonso mango aroma, I was used to. Once I opened the box, washed and cut one of the fruits, it sure was a treat to bite into the mango as it bought back memories of my childhood.

Many Indian stores carry South American mangoes and sell them by the dozen. It usually cost around $9.00 per case. 

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 papain 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 

  • Alphonso
  • Ratnagiri
  • Devgadh
  • Kesar
  • Batli
  • Langdo
  • Payri
  • Rajapuri
Types of Mangoes found in the US
  • Irwin
  • Kent
  • Lippens
  • Haden
  • Alice
  • Valencia Pride
  • Alice

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.   Top

How to test for ripeness?

To test for ripeness press all mangoes gently; they are ripe when the flesh gives slightly and the skin is starting to slightly wrinkle. If the mango has black spots the mango is past its prime.

Mangoes can ripen off of the tree. Because mangoes come in a rainbow of reds, yellows, oranges, and greens, color is not the best way to determine ripeness. Sniff for a fragrant fruity odor at the stem end, or squeeze very gently to detect a firm yet yielding feel under your fingers.

To speed up the ripening process, place the mangoes in a in a brown paper bag or leave them in the box and  keep them at room temperature, and then refrigerate them when ripe.

Ripe mango is delicious served as is, in a fruit compote, as sorbet, ice-cream or mousse. Firm-ripe mango makes an excellent salad ingredient. Unripe mango is used for canned chutney, pickles and relishes.      Top

How to cut a mango?

To understand how to cut a mango, one has to understand the insides of a mango. It has a large seed/stone inside which is shaped just like the mango. It is large and hard. The flesh around the seed is what is eaten and the skin and the seed/stone is thrown away. 

Stand the mango tall.  Since the seed is about 1/2 inch in the middle, start cutting the mango 1/2 inch from the center and slice lengthwise. Do the same to the other side.  Now you should have 3 parts - 2 slices and one middle slice with the seed in. 

Cut the outside slices into 2 lengthwise. Suck on the skins and flesh to get the flesh out. Then suck on the seed part and suck/eat the soft sweet flesh.     Top

How to eat a mango?

Always rinse mangoes thoroughly before using. They are a distant relative of poison ivy and the residue of sap from the tree on the skin of the mango may cause an allergic reaction in some people.

You can use a Mango Splitter to make life easy !

The sweet flesh can be enjoyed chilled or at room temperature. It can be peeled and cut into slices or cubes. The soft orange yellow flesh inside can be enjoyed while the juice dribbles down your chin and on your wrists past your elbows. You can even score the cut slice and scoop the flesh with a spoon.

Juicing mangoes in your mouth...

Many mangoes can be squeezed so that the pulp becomes soft inside the mango, then a hole is made on the top of the mango and the pulpy juice is sucked till all the pulp is eaten. Special juicing mangoes are eaten this way - PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT THE TOP OF THE MANGO IS CLEAN AND FREE OF SAP

Here are the steps 

  1. Firmly grasp a mango between your hands.

  2. Firmly yet softly  squeeze and knead the mango, turning it around as you squeeze the flesh inside into mush and juice. Take care not to inadvertently puncture, rupture, or tear the flesh.

  3. Bring the mango up to your mouth and firmly bite down, creating a small hole from which it is possible to suck the juice.

  4. Suck firmly and evenly and squeeze as you suck. 

  5. When the  juice is depleted, peel the skin and scrape its soft underside. 

  6. Now you can suck the seed and deplete it off of its juice. 

     Top

Mango Milk Shake 

1 lb mango pulp = 1 Mango tin from Indian store
6 cups whole milk or any milk of your choice
3 Tablespoons sugar
12 ice cubes
Put half of the quantities of the above ingredients into the blender. Blend until smooth. Make another batch. Serve chilled.   Top

Mango Salsa

1 large Papaya
2 large Mangos
1 medium Red onion
1 medium Jalapeno pepper
1 bunch Cilantro leaves
1 medium Red bell pepper
1 small  Cucumber
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons Lime juice
Peel and clean the fruit. Cut the mango, papaya, cucumber, bell pepper and red onion into small, equal sized dices. Finely dice the jalapeno and cilantro and add and combine all ingredients well. Finish by adding the olive oil and lime juice and season with the cumin and a pinch of salt and sugar.    Top

Mango Ice-Cream

When it comes to one of the very favorite ice-cream flavors that most Indians crave for........you guessed it it's "Mango".  Well, here is an easy recipe for just that. Mango tins can be found in many Indian Grocery Stores. You can buy the mango pulp tin on line.     

You may also use fresh ripe mangoes. Make sure that they are ripe and smell sweet.  Remove the skin and scoop the fruit out. Make a pulp by putting it in a blender. To make this recipe you will need 14 oz of the pulp. Adjust the sweetness as desired. Make sure the mixture is a little on the sweeter side as the the mixture will taste less sweet when cold. 

1 can Mango Pulp.....choose the "Alphonso"
1 small can Condensed Milk 
1 small tub of Cool Whip
1/2 cup of Whipping cream

Quick Tip: Choose a fat-free version of the Cool Whip to make it almost "sin-free".

Blend all of the above ingredients well using a whisk or blender and freeze. Enjoy with a slice of ripe mango or top with a dollop of cool whip.

 

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