Mangoes are amongst the most delicious and luxurious of all tropical fruits.
The mango is known as the 'King of fruits' throughout the world. Once a native of India and cultivated in Asia for over four thousand years. Today mangoes are grown in many tropical climate countries across the globe.
A mango tree doesn’t produce fruit until it’s about three or four years old, 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. The mango tree is long-lived, some specimens are known to be 300 years old. The mango is related to cashew, pistachio, poison ivy, and poison oak. ** The handling of mangoes carries a risk of skin irritation in sensitive individuals. The Mango contains an oil, called urushiol, which is present in the sap and the rinds of the mango fruit.
Typically, Mango fruits are plump, oval and egg shaped with smooth, soft skin. The skin is usually yellowish-orange with deep red to purple blush. The flesh varies between yellow and golden and is soft, juicy and sweet, somewhat fibrous, closely resembling a peach, while others are succulent and buttery.
The mango is delicious whether eaten on its own, or in a fruit salad. It is a popular flavouring in yogurt, ice cream and sorbets. Mangoes can also made into jams, jellies, marmalades, coulis and juice. In India, green mangoes are a basic ingredient of traditional chutneys. Mango blends deliciously with ham, duck, poultry, pork, and fish. Mango is an important fruit for many tropical countries, the Mango contains enzymes useful for tenderizing meats and also acts as a digestive aid.
Leave mangoes to ripen at room temperature, once ripe, mangoes should be moved to the refrigerator. To speed up ripening, place the mangos in a paper bag at room temperature. When ripe mangoes have a wonderful, sweetly fragrant aroma and yield slightly to the touch. Cut mangoes only when ready to use them, this helps to keep their aroma. Mangoes may be peeled, cubed and placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to six months.
An easy way to prepare mango is use the 'Hedgehog' method.
Slice each side of the large flat stone to obtain two fleshy cheeks. Place the mango cheeks flesh-side up, and score into cubes, lengthwise and crosswise, taking care not to cut through the skin. Firmly hold both edges of the fruit and turn the cheek inside. You now have a little 'hedgehog' :) You can now eat the mango flesh right off the hedgehog, be sure you have the napkins ready. :) Or the cubes can just be easily sliced off the skin and used in your recipes.
Mango & Cardamom Lassi
A delicious Indian Drink, that can also be served as dessert.
2 large mangoes - mango flesh, peeled & chopped
400ml natural yogurt
3 cardamom pods
freshly grated nutmeg
Split the cardamom pods and remove & crush the seeds until finely ground.
Place the mango flesh in a blender, add the yogurt, milk & ground cardamoms. Whizz until smooth. Taste, and add a little honey if required. Pour into small glasses, and grate over a little nutmeg, then serve.