- Mangoes are one of the best kept secrets in the world of vitamin C. Just one cup of sliced mango, or about 140 grams of the sweet yellow fruit, contains 85 percent of your Daily Value of this essential antioxidant, making mangoes an excellent source of vitamin C.
- This fruit is also an excellent source of vitamin A, which helps promote healthy eyes.
Humans have loved this fruit longer than anyone can remember. Mangoes got their start in India and Southeast Asia, and from there, explorers brought them to Europe and the Americas. Today, most of the mangoes you buy at the supermarket are imported from Central America or grown in Hawaii. Did you know? — The flesh of the mango contains a tiny amount of urushiol, the same stuff found in poison ivy. It's not nearly as much, but people who are sensitive or prone to contact dermatitis might want to wear gloves while peeling the fruit.
Mangoes come in more than 1,000 varieties, but don't worry, because at the grocery store you'll find just one or two types. The most common variety of mango, by far, is the Tommy Atkins: large, firm and mild, these mangoes are instantly recognizable by their "blushing" green-and-red skin.
When are Mangoes in Season?
As a tropical fruit, mangoes are available for much of the year. Look for them to be in season between January and September, with peak flavor in late summer. Of course, greenhouse cultivation means you can still get all the mangoes you want in wintertime.
How to Choose Mangoes
Like other fruits that have pits (e.g. peaches, plums and avocados), a good mango can be found by giving one a gentle squeeze. Is it firm and unbruised, with skin that gives a little under your fingers? Does its peel have a nice, fruity scent? Is it a mellow yellow hue, with a slight red blush and green accents? If so, you've got yourself a good mango. Skip ones that are all-green (underripe) or shriveled and mushy-feeling (overripe).
How to Store Mangoes
Until they've ripened, keep mangoes at room temp — the pantry or a fruit bowl will do. Over time, your mangoes will gradually grow a deep pink or red, similar in color to a Fuji apple. This means they're ripe, ready to be eaten or stored in the refrigerator.
How to Prep Mangoes
The sweet, tropical taste of mango is like a cross between pineapple and peach. This mellow flavor makes the fruit good not only as an addition to raw salads and salsas, but also as a key ingredient in sautés and stir-fries. To prep your mango in seconds, wash it under cold tap water. Now stand the mango vertically and use a small paring knife to slice vertically just to either side of the central pit. This should yield to curved sections of fruit, plus a third that’s made up of the pit surrounded by a thin layer of fruit. Lay each of the first two sections on their skin, then make a grid of horizontal and vertical cuts, leaving little cubes attached to the peel. Simply pull these away one at a time. Finally, use the knife to slice away the bit of fruit surrounding the pit.
Most mango recipes will call for whole mangoes or a cup or two of diced pieces. Tip: One medium sized mango yields about a cup of fruit.
Ask your guests about allergies before you put mango in a meal. If they are sensitive to the fruit, you can always use pineapples, peaches or papaya instead.
Mangoes in Recipes
Want a great summer dinner that really puts your mangoes to use? Start things off with this light, tasty Spinach-Mango Salad, then follow it with a hot-off-the-grill Planked Salmon with Peach-Mango Salsa.
To cap the night, serve Creamy Mango Smoothies in chilled glasses, accented with a cool slice of the fruit on top.