Fun Facts About Mangoes
Mangoes are one of the most popular and beloved fruits in the world. Beyond being juicy and delicious, this tropical fruit has a fascinating history and background. Here are some interesting tidbits and fun facts about mangoes.
Mango Origins and History
- Mangoes have been cultivated for over 4,000 years, originating in northeast India/Myanmar.
- Mangoes are the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. India is the world’s largest producer of mangoes, accounting for over 40% of global production.
- Portuguese traders introduced mangoes to Africa in the 16th century, then to Brazil and the West Indies. The fruit arrived in California in the 1880s.
- There are over 1,000 varieties of mangoes worldwide. Common types include Haden, Ataulfo, Keitt, and Kent.
- The current Guinness World Record for the heaviest mango is held by a specimen from Israel weighing over 10 pounds!
- Mango trees can grow over 100 feet tall and live for over 300 years. A mango tree bears fruit after about 4-8 years.
Mango Nutrition Facts
- Mangoes are packed with over 20 different vitamins and minerals, making them nutritionally dense.
- They are high in vitamin C, containing over 100% of the RDI per serving. This aids immune function and skin health.
- Mangoes are a good source of vitamin A, promoting eye health. They also provide B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
- Mangoes contain zeaxanthin and lutein, antioxidants that help protect eye health and lower risks of macular degeneration.
- The tropical fruit has a rich phytonutrient content including quercetin, astragalin, gallic acid, and methylgallate. These act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Unique Mango Characteristics
- There is a wide range of mango sizes. The smallest varieties are about 6 ounces, while the largest can be over 4 pounds.
- Mango skins contain latex and urushiol, chemicals that can cause skin irritation like poison ivy. The flesh inside is not affected.
- The mango seed can sprout and grow into a tree. Some people dry or roast the seed to eat as a snack.
- Unripe green mangoes are often used in South Asian cooking for dishes like chutney, curry, and pickles.
- When ripe, mangoes turn yellow, orange-red, or shades in between. Ripe mangoes yield to gentle pressure when squeezed.
- Mangoes have a distinctive, sweet, peachy tropical aroma. Their flesh tastes like a blend of peach, pineapple, and apricot.
Mango Cultural Significance
- Mangoes are culturally and religiously significant in Hinduism. They are considered a symbol of love and some festivals involve mango leaves.
- In many parts of the world, giving someone a basket of mangoes represents friendship and goodwill.
- The mango is the national fruit of India, where it has also been dubbed the “king of fruits.”
- The mango became the national fruit of Pakistan after speeches linked its sweetness and color to the land.
- In the Philippines, the carabao mango is the national fruit. It is the focus of the annual Pahiyas Festival celebrations.
- Mangoes are believed to bring good luck in some Asian cultures. Sliced mangoes are often served at weddings and during the Chinese New Year.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mangoes
From selecting the perfect mango to using them in recipes, here are answers to some common mango questions:
Q: How do you pick out ripe mangoes?
A: Look for mangoes that yield slightly when squeezed but aren’t mushy. Yellow-orange skin with red blushing is a good sign. Avoid hard green mangoes.
Q: How do you cut and eat a mango?
A: Cut each cheek off the pit first. Then score the mango flesh before slicing or dicing it off the skin. Enjoy it fresh or add it to smoothies, salsa, desserts and more.
Q: What’s the difference between various mango types?
A: There are over 1,000 mango cultivars. Common ones like Haden, Kent, Ataulfo, Keitt, and Francis have slight differences in flavor, fiber, texture, shape, size, and color.
Q: Can you grow a mango tree from a seed?
A: Yes! Clean and dry the seed then plant it in well-draining soil. Keep it warm and moist. Seedlings need lots of sunlight. Trees take 4-8 years to mature and bear quality fruit.
Q: What are some ways to use up ripe mangoes?
A: Make mango smoothies, lassi, salsa, chutney, curry or ceviche. Slice them for fruit salads or blend into sauces. You can also dehydrate or freeze sliced mangoes to enjoy later.
Q: Are mango seeds edible?
A: Yes, the seed can be eaten sliced, dried or roasted like nuts. It does contain a small amount of cyanide, so limit intake. Many prefer to avoid the hassle and simply compost seeds.
I hope these mango facts and FAQs provide plenty of juicy information about this exotic, nutritious, and delicious fruit! Let me know if you have any other mango questions. 😀