In the fruit world, the mango is the popular one that always gets picked first for the fruit bowl and the one who everyone wants to hang out with. And with good reason! Sometimes known as the King of Fruits, mangoes are full of sweet juicy deliciousness that is hard to resist.
Mangoes flourish in warm sunny climates, including Florida, The Philippines and The Caribbean, but by far the largest producer of mangoes is India, contributing a whopping 50 per cent to global consumption. Exceptionally sweet, rich and smooth, Indian mangoes are among the finest in the world and an old part of Indian culture and identity. In fact, the mango is so highly prized in Indian culture that it is the inspiration behind the paisley pattern, designed centuries ago by Indian silk merchants and still admired today.
In addition to their fashion inspiration, mangoes are also at the top of the charts when it comes to health benefits, and their sumptuous tropical flavour makes it an easy choice. Packed into each mouthful are vitamins A, B and C, as well as fibre and antioxidants. And if that’s not enough, one cup of mango only equates to 100 calories, which is about the same as three squares of chocolate – we’ll let you make the decision!
However, not all mangoes are created equal and handling these tropical gems requires a bit of dexterity and know-how. There’s a relatively short season for fresh mangoes, and it is tempting to stock up, but make sure you choose wisely. Don’t merely rely on the colour, as this is only an indication of the variety and not ripeness. A ripe mango will give slightly under gentle pressure and will sometimes have a fruity aroma around the base of the stem. Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature, and they will become sweeter and softer over several days. Once ready to eat, you can store them in the fridge for a few days to slow down the ripening process. Do not panic if your mango becomes overripe – that can easily translate into mango purée, which is perfect for adding to smoothies or cheesecakes!
There are countless amazing recipes for using up mangoes, including ice cream, lassi or a homemade chutney, but there’s no argument that the best way is fresh and ripe, cut directly from the stone in big, juicy chunks. Mouth-watering!