Source from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.The mango (Mangifera spp.; plural mangos or mangoes) is a genus of about 35 species of tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae, native to India and Indo-China, of which the Indian Mango M. indica is by far the most important commercially. Reference to mangos as the “food of the gods” can be found in the Hindu Vedas. The name of the fruit comes from the Tamil word man-kay, which was corrupted to manga by the Portuguese when they explored western India.
Mangos are large trees, reaching 35-40 m in height, with a crown radius of 10 m.
|The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15-35 cm long and 6-16 cm broad; when young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark glossy red, then dark green as they mature.|
ConsumptionGenerally, once ripe, they are quite juicy and can be very messy to eat. However, those exported to temperate regions are, like most tropical fruit, picked under-ripe. Although they are ethylene producers and ripen in transit, they do not have the same juiciness or flavour as the fresh fruit. A ripe mango will have an orange-yellow or reddish skin. To allow a mango to continue to ripen after purchase, store in a cool, dark place, but not your refigerator. Refrigeration will slow the ripening process.
The small-fruited cultivars, usually somewhat yellow in colour, can be rolled on a flat surface in the same way a lemon is rolled before extracting the juice. It is ready for eating when the big stone can be rotated without breaking the skin. With your teeth, rip off a piece of skin at the top of the mango and place your mouth over the hole. Squeeze the fruit from the bottom up, as if squeezing toothpaste from the bottom of the tube.
With any of the large-fruited cultivars of mango, the operation is less hazardous: place the fruit lengthwise on a table and feel for the rather flat stone (containing the seed), which should lie horizontally inside the skin about midway through the fruit. Slice the mango so that the knife just passes over the flat surface of the stone. Turn the mango over and repeat the process, cutting across the other flat surface.
With each big slice that has been removed, cut hatch marks through the flesh just down to the skin. Then, holding the portion flesh-side-up, press the thumb on the skin side underneath as if turning the piece inside out. Many bite-sized pieces of flesh will pop up and can be cut out to put into a fruit salad or other preparation. This technique is sometimes called the hedgehog method because of the appearance of the prepared fruit. An alternative to the hedgehog method is to use a spoon to scoop out pieces of the fruit from the exposed “cheeks”.
A simple way to eat a large mango ‘as is’ involves using a knife. Start by removing part of the skin and then slice out bite-sized pieces with the knife. Remove more skin to expose more flesh. Expect to get juicy hands when eating the last part, when there is no skin to hold with your hand.
Another way to eat a mango is to simply use a sharp knife to peel the skin completely. Then make horizontal and vertical cuts on each side till the flat stone is reached. Slice off the flesh from each side of the stone and then slice the remaining flesh left on the side of the stone. This method works best on mangoes that are ripe and which have firm flesh.
Ripe mangoes are extremely popular throughout Latin America. In Mexico, sliced mango is eaten with chili powder and/or salt. In Guatemala, Ecuador and Honduras, small, green mangoes are popular; they have a sharp, brisk flavor like a Granny Smith apple. Vendors sell slices of peeled green mango on the streets of these countries, often served with salt. In Hawai’i it is common to pickle green mango slices.
Mangoes are widely used in chutney, which in the West is often very sweet, but in the Indian subcontinent is usually sharpened with hot chilis or limes. In India, mango is often made into a pulp and sold as bars like chocolate, and unripe mango is eaten with chili powder and/or salt. In the Philippines, unripe mango is eaten with bagoong, a salty paste made from fermented fish or shrimp.
Mango is also used to make juices, both in ripe and unripe form. Pieces of fruit can be mashed and used in ice cream; they can be substituted for peaches in a peach (now mango) pie; or put in a blender with milk, a little sugar, and crushed ice for a refreshing beverage. A more traditional Indian drink is mango lassi, which is similar, but uses a mixture of yoghurt and milk as the base, and is sometimes flavoured with salt or cardamom.
Dried unripe mango used as a spice in south and southeast Asia is known as amchur (sometimes spelled amchoor).
Cultivation and usesThe mango is now widely cultivated as a fruit tree in frost-free tropical and subtropical climates throughout southern Asia, North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, south and central Africa and Australia. It is easily cultivated and there are now more than 1,000 cultivars, ranging from the turpentine mango (from the strong turpentine taste) to the huevos de toro (“bull’s balls”, from the shape and size). The mango is reputed to be the most commonly eaten fresh fruit worldwide. Mangos also readily naturalize in tropical climates. Some lowland forests in the Hawaiian Islands are dominated by introduced mangos.
The mango is a popular fruit with people around the world. However, many mango farmers receive a low price for their produce. This has led to mangoes being available as a ‘fair trade’ item in some countries.
The fruit flesh of a ripe mango contains about 15% sugar, up to 1% protein, and significant amounts of vitamins A, B and C. The taste of the fruit is very sweet, with some cultivars having a slight acidic tang. The texture of the flesh varies markedly between different cultivars; some have quite a soft and pulpy texture similar to an over-ripe plum, while others have a firmer flesh much like that of a cantaloupe or avocado, and in some cultivars the flesh can contain fibrous material. Mangoes are very juicy; the sweet taste and high water content make them refreshing to eat, though somewhat messy.
The mango is in the same family as poison ivy and contains urushiol, though much less than poison ivy. Some people get dermatitis from touching mango peel or sap. Persons showing an allergic reaction after handling a mango can usually enjoy the fruit if someone else first removes the skin. The leaves are toxic to cattle.
It is reputed that mangos soothe the intestines, which makes them easy to digest. In India, where mangoes are the national fruit, they are thought to help stop bleeding, to strengthen the heart, and to benefit the brain.
The mango also features as a common motif in Indian textiles, known as the paisley design.