Did you know that mangos are one of the most popular fruits in the world? They are the fruits of an evergreen tree called Mangifera Indica, which is a member of the cashew family. Botanically, mango is a drupe, consisting of an outer skin, a fleshy edible portion, and a central stone enclosing a single seed (also called stone fruit, like a plum, cherry, or peach).
Mangos were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago. The seeds traveled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa beginning around 300 or 400 A.D. Spanish explorers brought mangos to South America and Mexico. There are hundreds of different mango varieties around the world and in the U.S., there are six main varieties you can find in the supermarket throughout the year – each with unique flavor and texture.
There are some assumptions that mangos are only available in the summertime, but we’re here to debunk this myth! Mangos are always in season here in the United States. We’re lucky to have access to many different varieties of mangos, and because they each have their own unique seasons, we can enjoy mangos all year long!
There’s always more to the story though. If you’re looking for a specific type of mango, then of course, there are different seasons. For example, if you’ve got a hankering for a yellow honey mango, then you’re going to have to wait it out until mid-February or March. It’s all based on which country the mangos are coming from, the climate during that season and so many other factors. Luckily, every time you go to the supermarket, you should be able to find one of these six popular varieties.
With the different tastes and textures found in different varieties, mangos have become a staple in diets around the world and are enjoyed in various ways. Mangos have natural tenderizing properties making them a perfect ingredient for marinades or a great addition to your grilling menu. The char from the grill perfectly caramelizes the mango to bring out a sweet and tangy flavor that will fit right in with your traditional summer picnics. For a unique flavor experience, try mango with salt, lime juice, or chili powder. Add pickled mango to sandwiches, hamburgers, or enjoy as a snack. The list of ways to enjoy mango is endless!
By experimenting with flavors, mango can easily be incorporated into a variety of recipes from around the world. It’s important to remember that mangos can also be used at varying levels of ripeness. Once you know how to choose a fresh mango, you can find the perfect fruit to take home with you and share with your family.
When you choose a mango, don't focus on color. It is not the best indicator of ripeness. Mango varieties come in a multitude of colors, shapes, and sizes. Get to know the different varieties you may come across when shopping. Squeeze the mango gently, a ripe mango will give slightly. A medium-ripe mango will be somewhat firm, and an unripe mango will be very firm to the touch. Mango flavor ranges from sour-tart for unripe mangos, to naturally sweet for ripe mangos. Use your experience with produce such as peaches and avocados to help you easily choose a mango, since they also become softer as they ripen.
From savory tacos to sweet desserts, mangos can fit in just about any recipe. This versatile fruit adds a pop of sunshiny flavor to any recipe.