Food for Thought- Mango!

 

mango

Mango is king of the fruits. It is one of the most popular, nutritionally rich fruits possessing unique flavor, fragrance, taste, and heath-promoting qualities making it a “super fruit”. The mango originated in Southeast Asia where it has been grown for over 4,000 years. Over the years mango groves have spread to many parts of the tropical and sub-tropical world, where the climate allows the mango to grow best. Mango trees are evergreens that will grow to 60 feet tall. The mango tree will fruit 4 to 6 years after planting. Mango trees require hot, dry periods to set and produce a good crop. Most of the mangos sold in the United States are imported from Mexico, Haiti, the Caribbean and South America. Today there are over 1,000 different varieties of mangos throughout the world.

Season:

Mangoes are seasonal fruits; fresh mango fruit season begins in the month of May, when the rich fragrance heralds its arrival.

Mangoes are usually harvested while they are green but perfectly mature. Un-ripe ones are extremely sour to taste. Organic mangoes are left to ripen on the tree; however, over-ripened fruits fall off from the tree.

Selection & Storage:

Selecting the ripeness of mangos can be determined by either smelling or squeezing. A ripe mango will have a full, fruity aroma emitting from the stem end. Mangos can be considered ready to eat when slightly soft to the touch and yielding to gentle pressure, like a ripe peach. The best flavored fruit have a yellow tinge when ripe; however, color may be red, yellow, green, orange or any combination. The ideal post harvest storage temperature for mangos is 55º F. When stored properly a mango should have a shelf life of 1 to 2 weeks. We have found that the best way to ripen a mango is at room temperature, on the kitchen counter and if you wish to accelerate the process place in a paper bag overnight (some folks place an apple with the mango in the bag to create more natural ethylene gas and further decrease the ripening time). Once ripened the mango can be refrigerated for a few days, but should be used shortly thereafter.

Nutritive Value

1 cup of sliced mango contains 107 calories, 0.45 gm total fat, 28 gm carbohydrates, 3 gm fiber, 0.84 gm protein and it is rich in Vitamin A (25%), Vitamin C (76%), Vitamin B6 (11%), Vitamin E (9%) and folic acid (6%)

Health Benefits

-Research has shown that antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers

-The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein

-Mangoes can be used both internally and externally for the skin. Mangoes clear clogged pores and eliminates pimples.

One cup of sliced mangoes supply 25 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness and dry eyes.

You will find mangoes at many farmer’s markets or grocery stores this time of the year when they are at their juiciest. They make a great snack, maybe added to salad, salsa, chutneys and sauces and also taste great in juices and smoothies.  Stay tuned for mango recipes..

-Aparna Ramadurai

May 14th, 2013