Greetings! It's wonderful of you to come and visit us here at the Mango site – a place of sweet serenity, where you can savour the flavour of the tropics in cyber space. Yes, we're mangoes, originally from India but now from tropical countries around the world. In India we're considered to be a sacred fruit and it's thought that Buddha used to meditate under a mango tree. But you don't have to be a sage or a prophet to appreciate our fragrant aroma and succulent flesh. We've certainly been enjoyed by many people over thousands of years, so let me tell you a little more about us.
We're a smooth-skinned fruit with a beautiful, sensuous feel and sweet aroma. Our shape and size can vary considerably, as well as our flavour and colour. Typically, we're plump, egg or kidney-shaped, compressed (pushed in) sideways with a slightly pointed end. Our skin is peeled off to expose our flesh which is fragrant, succulent, moist, orange-coloured, with some fibrous (but edible) strands, surrounding a large seed.
We're available from September to March with our best value being from November to January.
We're sometimes sold by variety. In Australia, the most common mango is Kensington Pride or Bowen Special, a large, bright orange mango, often with a red blush. The flesh is deep orange and free of fibrous strands. Some other varieties are Irwin, Keitt, Nam Dok Mai, R2E2 and Kent.
As I said, we're a tropical fruit produced on a dense, evergreen tree which can grow to 18-20 metres. The leaves of our parent tree are narrow (35-40cm by 5-8cm), dark green, and leathery. Pink flowers are produced in groups and after fertilisation we mangoes mature and hang down on a very long stalks.
Our parent trees start bearing fruit between 3 and 4 years of age but, depending on the climate and soil, they can take up to 10 years. They prefer a tropical, warm climate and love deep well drained sandy to loamy soils.
We're picked when ripe with care being taken to avoid the caustic sap produced when our stalk is cut. We're harvested with the aid of a picking device, attached to a large pole, consisting of a pair of shears and a bag to cut and catch us.
Select those of us which are firm and bright with a distinct pleasant aroma. Colour should be characteristic of variety. Avoid any with black or soft spots.
Ripen us at room temperature. Store ripe fruit in the vegetable crisper or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 3 days.
We've been grown in India for more than 4000 years, but it's thought that we may have originated in Malaysia and south-east Asia. Portuguese traders probably took us to Africa and Brazil. In the 18th century we were found growing in the West Indies and other parts of South America. We are now grown in most tropical and sub-tropical countries. Mangoes were introduced into Australia during the early years of European settlement via ships trading between north Queensland and south east Asia.
We have a very distinctive sweet taste and are great to eat. Serve with ice cream, in fruit salad, sauces, cakes, pies, puddings, crepes, mousse, sandwiches, salads, curries, seafood and chicken dishes. We're also great on the barbecue and sauteed.
Cut only when ready to use to keep our aroma. To peel cut from the stem end first and skin will pull away easily if ripe.
An easy way to prepare us that also looks good is to slice each side of our large flat seed to obtain 2 fleshy cheeks. Score the flesh in cubes but not through the skin. Turn skin inside out so flesh is easy to remove. Cut any remaining flesh from around the stone.
Here are a few scrumptious mango recipes.
Nutty Mango And Prawn Salad
Peel and slice 2 mangoes. Shell and devein 750g prawns. Arrange prawns and mango on a bed of torn English spinach and snow pea sprouts. Mix 1/3 cup yoghurt, 1/3 cup chopped mango, 1/2 teaspoon sugar with 1 teaspoon tandoori seasoning and drizzle over salad.
Simple Mango Dessert
Peel and slice mangoes. Mix sour cream and glace ginger. Spoon over mango and sprinkle with chopped roasted macadamia nuts.
Barbecue Mango Chicken
Marinate 8 chicken thigh fillets and 2 sliced mangoes in 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce for 20 minutes. Barbecue and serve with salad. Simple but great. For extra bite add 1 finely chopped chilli to marinade.