Mangoes

Mangifera indica

 

Mangoes are a tropical treat.  They are a stone fruit like peaches and nectarines but the trees get to be quite a bit larger than a peach tree and are quite long lived (300 years and 100 feet tall).  Some people suggest that mango trees are so large and long lived that they sequester enough CO2 to make up for the travel cost of the mangoes to nontropical consumers.  Mango trees originated in South Asia but are now grown in all tropical regions of the world.  In the US, most of our mangoes come from Mexico.   India produces the most but keeps them all for domestic consumption. 

Mangos are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A (beta Carotene as their color suggests), and folate.  They also contain copper and Vitamin K. They have about 3 g of fiber per fruit, depending on the size.  They are rich in phytonutrients like lutein and mangiferin.  They also have a high water content making them a great treat for hot days and athletes trying to stay hydrated. 

There are hundreds of varieties of mangos although we only get to see a few of them here in the US.  My favorite is the Ataulfo, which is smaller, kidney bean shaped and very creamy.  They are often marketed as Champagne mangoes.  Mangoes are ripe when they are slightly soft to the touch.  There are plenty of ways to cut a mango to eat it - I don't think there is a wrong way and there is certainly plenty of advice if you google how to cut a mango.  I prefer to slice them into thirds, with the pit being in the middle third.  You then have two halves in their skin ready to eat with a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works quite well).  You can skin the pit "third" and eat the flesh off but this is best done over the sink.