“The king of the fruits," mango fruit is one of the most popular, nutritionally rich fruits with unique flavor, fragrance, taste, and heath promoting qualities, making it numero-uno among new functional foods, often labeled as “super fruits."
Mango is a tropical tree cultivated in many regions of India, and now its farming has been extented wide across the world in many continents. After flowering its fruits generally grow at the end of a long, string like peduncle, with sometimes more than one fruit to a peduncle.
Each fruit measures 5 to 15 cms in length and about 4 to 10 cms in width, and has typical “mango” shape, or sometimes oval or round. Its weight ranges from 150 gm to around 750 gm. Outer skin (pericarp) is smooth and is green in un-ripe mangoes but turns in ripe fruits into golden yellow, crimson red, yellow or orange-red depending upon the cultivar type. Fresh mango season lasts from April until August.
Mango comes in different shapes and sizes depending upon cultivar types. Internally, its flesh (mesocarp) is juicy, orange-yellow in color with numerous soft fibrils radiating from its centrally placed flat, oval-shaped stone (enveloping a single large kidney-shaped seed). Its flavor is pleasant and rich, and tastes sweet with mild tartness. A high-quality mango fruit should feature no or very less fiber content and minimal tartness. Mango seed (stone) may either has a single embryo, or sometimes polyembryonic.
Selection and storage
1. Mangoes are seasonal fruits; fresh mango fruit season begins by March end when its rich fragrance heralds its arrival in the markets.
2. Mangoes usually harvested while they are green but perfectly matured. Un-ripe ones are extremely sour in taste. Organic mangoes are left to ripe on the tree; however, over-ripe fruits fall off from the tree and tend to get spoiled.
3. Choose ones with intact skin without any bruises or cuts. Unripe mangoes can be kept at room temperature for few days, and to ripen, keep them in paper covers. Ripe fruits should be stored in the refrigerator but never below 10° F (50°C). Bring back to normal temperature when the fruit is to be eaten to get the natural taste and flavor.
Serving tips and Culinary Uses of Mango
1. Mango fruit can be enjoyed all alone without any seasonings/additions.
2. Fresh mango cubes are a great addition to fruit salads.
3. Mango juice with ice cubes is a popular, delicious drink.
4. Mango fruit juice blended with milk as "mango-milk shake." Mango fruit is also used to prepare jam, jelly, ice cream and in sweet-candy industries.
5. Unripe, raw, green mango has been in use in the preparation of pickles, jam (marmalade), and chutney in the Asian countries.
Mango has a very special place in the culinary world across the globe. The delicacies like mango salsa, mango pie, mango juice, mango jelly and mango relish are famous mango recipes in international cuisine. Mango is extensively used in cooking as a flavoring agent. The juice, color and fragrance of mango are widely used in many mango dishes. Mango dishes are made with both ripe and unripe mangoes. Unripe mangoes are generally used to make pickles
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. Ripe mangoes are used in making ice creams
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and other sweet and savory dishes, leather
Mango dishes and mango recipes are quiet popular in Indian and South Asian cuisine. ‘Panna
’, a common summer drink made up of mango pulp, is very popular among Indians. ‘Amrakhand’ is a typical Indian specialty that involves whipped mango pulp into rich sweet yogurt. Mango lassi
) is also a very popular drink throughout South Asia. Mango is widely used in making preserves such as ‘murabba
’, and mango pickle with mustard oil. In some parts of South-east Asia, fish sauce and rice vinegar are mixed with mangoes to make a delectable condiment. In Central America, unripe and green mangoes are eaten with salt and pepper. In western cuisine, mangoes are mostly used to make sweet dishes such as sherbets, puddings, jams, frostings and baked items.
Health Benefits of Mango
1. Fights cancer
Antioxidants like quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat present in mango protect the body against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers.
2. Keeps cholesterol in check
Mango has high level of vitamin C, pectin and fibres that help to lower serum cholesterol levels. Fresh mango is a rich source of potassium, which is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps to control heart rate and blood pressure.
3. Skin cleanser
Mangoes help you unclog your pores and add freshness to the face. Mangoes are applicable to any skin type. They help clear clogged pores that cause acne. Just slice a mango into thin pieces and keep them on your face for 10 to 15 minutes and then take bath or wash your face and see the results.
4. Alkalizes the body
According to natural health school.com, mango is rich in tartaric acid, malic acid and traces of citric acid that primarily help in maintaining the alkali reserve of the body.
5. Weight loss
Mango has a lot of vitamins and nutrients that help the body feel fuller. Also, the fibrous fruit boosts the digestive function of the body by burning additional calories, helping in weight loss.
6. Regulates diabetes
Not only the fruit but the leaves of mangoes are healthy too. For people suffering from diabetes, just boil 5-6 mango leaves in a vessel, soak it through night and drink the filtered decoction in the morning. This is helps in regulating your insulin levels.
Mango has aphrodisiac qualities and is also called the ‘love fruit’. Mangoes increase the virility in men. Vitamin E, which is abundantly present in mangoes, helps to regulate sex hormones and boosts sex drive.
8. Eye care
Did you know that mango is rich in vitamin A. One cup of sliced mangoes equals 25% intake of your daily need of vitamin A. Mangoes help in promoting good eye sight, fights dry eyes and also prevent night blindness.
9. Helps in digestion
Mango contains enzymes that help in breaking down protein. The fibrous nature of mango helps in digestion and elimination. It is is rich in pre-biotic dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.
10. Heat stroke
When the sun is bogging you down this summer, just chop of a mango in a juicer; add a little water and a tbsp of sugar free or honey. This juice will instantly cool you down and prevent heat stroke.
11. Strengthens your immune
The deadly combination of vitamin C, vitamin A and 25 different kinds of carotenoids keep your immune system healthy.
12. Body scrub
Make a paste of mashed mango, honey and milk and use as a body scrub, you will feel that your skin is tender and smooth.
13. Aids concentration and memory
Studying for exams? This fruit is rich in glutamine acid– an important protein for concentration and memory. Feed mangoes to children who find it difficult to concentrate on studies.
14. High iron for women
Mango is rich in iron, hence it is a great natural solution for people suffering from anemia. Menopausal and pregnant women can indulge in mangoes as this will increase their iron levels and calcium at the same time.
15. Reduces Kidney Stones
In Chinese medicine, mangoes are considered sweet and sour with a cooling energy also capable of reducing the risk of kidney stone formation.
16. Perfect Snack
Instead of snacking on unhealthy chips and cookies, why not feast on slices of mangoes instead. They are perhaps one of the tastiest dehydrated fruits of all.