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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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The ever-popular mango

The mango harvest has started in Spain. Mangos (Mangifera indica) come originally from South East Asia, but today mangos are grown in almost every tropical and sub-tropical region. The area under cultivation for mangos in Spain, for example, has grown substantially in recent years. There are currently around 1,000 types of mango, but only a select few are available in Germany or Britain – for example, Tommy Atkins, Keitt and Kent.

The easy way to eat a mango

Mangos grow on long stalks on an evergreen tree that can grow up 40 metres high. Mangoes have leathery skins protecting soft, juicy, rich orange flesh. In the centre there's an oval-shaped stone that is sadly very difficult to detach from the flesh.

 

The challenge is to eat a mango without making a mess of your face and your clothes. Standard advice used to be to eat it in the bath. But there are other ways. You could peel the mango using a vegetable peeler and then slice the fruit flesh from the stone and finally cut it into slices or cubes. Alternatively, you leave the flesh on the stone and slice across and across into cubes right down to the stone to which it is still attached. Then it's relatively easy to lever each cube off the stone.

Health benefits and mango recipes

Ripe mangos taste deliciously sweet, faintly reminiscent of peaches. Most people will tell you they're best eaten raw, but if you want to make life more complicated, try serving mango stewed, pureed, in a salad or jam or even as a side to a curry. Or if you have more than you can eat, make mango chutney with onions, garlic, cinnamon, ginger and chilli.

 

Mangos are rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and provitamin A. Also vitamin C at around 37 mg per 100 g. There are also significant amounts of magnesium, potassium and calcium.

Use all your senses

You can buy mangos virtually all year round. Fruit from Spain are in the shops in early autumn. Outside Europe the main sources of mangos are India, China, Thailand and Mexico. The colour of a mango's skin depends a lot on the type of fruit it is and doesn't really say much about how ripe it is. Sometimes green fruit are in fact fully ripe. So don't just use your eyes: a ripe mango smells sweet and will give slightly if you press it gently with a fingertip. If you can only find unripe mangos to buy, wrap each one carefully in newspaper and leave them at room temperature to ripen. Don't keep mangos in the fridge – they don't like cold.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de