It’s not only the wonderful taste that has earned mangoes the ranking among fans as “the king of fruit.”
Bursting with nutrients, mangos are rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and carotenoids, which are converted to the almighty vitamin A in the body. Both vitamins A and C are essential to the body in different but important ways. Where vitamin A helps cells in the body mature and differentiate into their designated type of cell, vitamin C works as a potent antioxidant, while also playing a role in different reactions in the body, including gene expression.
As with many other fruits and vegetables, mango also contains a variety of polyphenols with potential positive antioxidant effects, however, the full effect of these polyphenols within the human body are still unknown and are an exciting area of current research.. Aside from their potential health-boosting antioxidants content, mangos are a delicious way to meet the daily recommendation of four to five servings of fruit per day.
Two main types of mango are generally sold in the United States: the smaller, buttery Champagne mango, and the larger, more common Tommy Atkins variety. Because they ripen in different places at different times, mangoes are readily available year-round in the United States.
The fruit found in this country’s stores typically come from Mexico, the Caribbean, South and Central America, and South Asia. Mangoes are also grown in Florida and California, though these are not widely sold commercially. Be sure to check labels to find processed fruits without added sugar, since mangos are naturally sweet enough.
You can’t tell a ripe mango by its color, so it needs to be tested by touch. A ripe mango is firm with a just little give when gently pressed. You can ripen hard mangoes in a brown paper bag on the kitchen counter. Leave them sealed in the bag until they have the correct amount of “give.” Mangos can also be bought bagged in the frozen foods aisle where they are typically cut into either pieces or slices – perfect for throwing into a smoothie.
Mangoes have a large oval pit. To serve: cut the mango a little off-center longwise through the stem-end. Repeat on the other side. The pit will be in the center slice. Without cutting through the skin, gently make a ½” crosshatch in the flesh in each half. Push the mango up from underneath on the skin-side so that the flesh pops open into a dome.
Green mangoes can be used in curries and savory salads. Frozen mango gives a tropical slant to our quick and easy dessert, Super-Simple Gelato, or a Mango Granita.
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