Yup, you got it right. I do love mangoes. They are my favorite kind of fruit and because the weather is getting warmer they starting to pop up everywhere. Some of my foodie friends are starting to use it for their creations and I couldn’t stay away from the fun. This past week I posted a mango guacamole and a mango pancakes recipes, and that is only the beginning
But what’s all the buzz about mangoes? You’ll know it when you enjoy the sweet and smooth flavor of a ripe mango. They are the fruit of the mango tree that it is believed to have originated in South Asia almost 6,000 years ago. Buddhist monks cultivated them. In fact, it is considered to be sacred because it is said that Buddha himself meditated under a mango tree. Mangoes spread to the Middle East and North Africa beginning around 300 or 400 A.D. and with Europeans the mango came to America.
Mango trees need tropical weather to thrive. Although locally grown mangoes can be found in South Florida, South California and Hawaii, most mangoes consumed in the USA are grown in countries like Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala and Haiti.
I find very interesting that many of the popular varieties of mangoes grown today around the world were developed in Florida in the late 1800s as part of a seedling program initiated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) There are dozens different varieties of mangoes, but the ones available in the USA are Ataulfo, Francine, Haden Keitt, Kent and Tommy Atkins. Click here to see the list and their availability during the year.
But mangoes are not only delicious. Like any other natural food, they are also nutritious. They are an important source of vitamins C and A, both important antioxidant nutrients. They are a good source of dietary fiber that is associated with reducing the risk of some types of cancer. Even the mango peel has considerable potential as an antioxidant food source that include numerous carotenoids, polyphenols and the unique mango xanthone, mangiferin, any of which may counteract free radicals in various disease mechanisms as revealed in preliminary research.
So next time you enjoy a mango you will feel good knowing that you are consuming a delicious fruit that is good for your health.
Cheers to the mango!