For those of us who grew up in Southeast Asia, mangoes are as common there as apples are here in North America—they are everywhere and in just about everything. My mom encouraged me to eat mangoes every day and I was happy to oblige. They are delicious with a wonderful, tropical scent and a flavor that’s a cross between pineapple and a luscious, ripe peach. The juicy flesh has a smooth, silky texture. Originally cultivated at the foot of the Himalayas 4,000 years ago, mangoes are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Right now is the beginning of the peak season for mangoes, but because there are a number of varieties grown all over the world, you can probably find fresh mangoes in the produce department of your market all year long. With their wealth of healthful properties and luxurious taste, mangoes have earned the title, the ‘King of Fruits.’
Here are some reasons that will make you happy to include mangoes in your diet. Mangoes:
There are hundreds of mango varieties grown throughout the world, and six of them are the main varieties available in the United States. The mangos we buy come mostly from Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and Haiti. These countries harvest their mango crops at different times of the year, so we get to enjoy mangos all year round. Mangoes have two seasons, one in the spring/summer and one in the fall/winter.
I’m very partial to the Ataulfos which are a lot like the ones in the Philippines. They are golden in color and have a relatively small seed, so there’s more of the juicy flesh, and they don’t have the slight aftertaste that some mangoes have. Ataulfos are available fresh March through July. The Kent variety is mostly green on the outside and very good for juicing. It’s available January to March and June to August. The most commonly grown mangoes in the U.S. are the Tommy Atkins which have distinctive green skins with a pinkish-red blush.
Semi-ripe mangoes are tarter than fully ripe mangoes and hold their shape better. I like to use them in my Mango Shrimp Cocktail, my Mango Shakes and my Mango Preserve (see recipes below). If you like more sweetness, use ripe mangos instead of green ones.
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup sliced scallions
2 tsp. sliced jalapenos
1–2 tsp. sea salt
1–2 tsp. hot sauce
2 cups diced green (semi-ripe) mangoes
1½ cups diced Roma tomatoes
1 cup julienned young coconut meat
¼ cup minced cilantro
2 cups medium wild shrimp, steamed or grilled
1. In a glass bowl, combine the lime juice, scallions, jalapenos, salt, and hot sauce.
2. Fold in the mangoes, tomatoes, coconut meat, and cilantro.
3. Carefully fold in shrimp.
4. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
5. Spoon into martini glasses.
NOTE: Depending on your taste for spicy foods, you can adjust the amount of hot sauce and jalapenos.
½ cup xylitol or refined organic sugar
2 Tbs. water
1 cup green mango meat, diced (Tommy Atkins mangoes)
1 cup crushed ice
½ cup water
For Syrup (optional):
¼ cup xylitol or refined organic sugar
1 Tbs. water
1 cup sweet, ripe mango meat, diced (Ataulfos mangoes)
1 cup crushed ice
½ cup water
NOTE: Ripe mangoes are pretty sweet, so you may not need to add syrup unless you prefer a sweeter shake.
Yields 2 cups
8 cups of ripe Ataulfos mango, mashed
½ cup sugar or xylitol