Its name ‘mango’ is derived from the Tamil word ‘mangkay’ or ‘man-gay’. When the Portuguese traders settled in Western India they adopted the mango which 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 and will fruit 4 to 6 years after planting. Mango trees require hot, dry periods to set and produce the best mango.
The Mango tree plays a sacred role in India; it is a symbol of love and some believe that the Mango tree can grant wishes.
A comfort food, mangos can make you feel better! Beyond being delicious and rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, mangos 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 mangos.
Every part of the mango is beneficial and has been utilized in folk remedies in some formor another. Whether it is the bark, leaves, skin or pit, all have been concocted into various types of treatments or preventatives down through the centuries.
Mangos are bursting with protective nutrients as well. The vitamin content depends upon the variety and maturity of the fruit, when the ango is green the amount of vitamin C is higher, as it ripens the amount of beta carotene (vitamin A) increases. We all know the importance of fiber in our diets. Research has shown that dietary fiber has a protective effect against degenerative diseases, especially with regards to the heart, and may even help prevent certain types of cancer, as well as lower 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, mangos are also a great way to replenish that lost potassium. Deliciously rich in anti-oxidants, potassium and fiber – the mango is the perfect fruit! Truly ‘the king of fruit’.
Mangos are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, as well as a good source of Potassium and contain beta carotene. They are high in fiber, but low in calories (approx. 110 per average sized mango), fat (only 1 gram) and sodium. Mangos are a good staple for your daily diet.
Selecting the ripeness of mangos can be determined byeither 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 will 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.
The 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. We here, at Mango’s Dockside Bistro, are proud to display and use the mango in many of our salads, our sauces, our coleslaw, our butter, our ice tea and our now famous Mango Bread. To the guest that commented “I was afraid to order coffee”…we haven’t figued out a recipe to add mango! Join us soon!