Sunday, 9 August 2009
Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous species of tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae.
The mango is indigenous to the Indian Subcontinent and has been cultivated in the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years. It reached East Asia between the 5th and 4th century BC and by the 10th century AD, they were transported to East Africa and subsequently introduced to Brazil, the West Indies and Mexico, through the slave trade.
In tropical parts of Asia, mangoes are grown in household plots. Nearly half of the world's mangoes are cultivated in India. Though India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world, it accounts for less than one per cent of the global mango trade.
Mango trees are evergreens that will grow to 60 feet tall. The mango tree will fruit 4 to 6 years after planting. Mango trees require hot, dry periods to set and produce a good crop.
Mango cultivars are classified into two groups – monoembryonic (where only one seedling emerges from a single seed) or Indian type; and polyembronic (where multiple seedlings emerges from a single seed) or Indo-Chinese type. The Indian type is intolerant of humidity, has flushes of bright red new growth that are subject to mildew, and bears fruit of rich colour and regular form. The Indo-Chinese type tolerates excess moisture, has a pale green or red new growth and is mildew resistant. Its polyembryonic fruit is pale green and elongated kidney-shaped. Today there are over 1,000 different varieties of mangos throughout the world.
A ripe mango is sweet, with a unique taste and flesh that nevertheless varies from variety to variety. In some cultivars, the flesh has a fibrous texture.
Apart from being consumed as is as a fruit, mangoes are used in various forms – unripe, ripe, dried, pickled and powdered. For example, in western recipes, ripe mangoes are used to make 'chutneys' which are usually very sweet; whereas in Indian ‘chutneys’, unripe sour mangoes are used along with spices. The Indians also pickle unripe mangoes. In South-East Asia, green (unripe) mangoes are used in salads and a popular Malaysian dish called Rojak. Malaysians also eat green mangoes sliced, very thinly, with soy sauce mixed with chilli.
Dried and powdered unripe mango, known as amchur (sometimes spelled amchoor) in India and ambi in Urdu, is used in cooking.
In Mexico, mango is used to make juices, smoothies, ice cream, fruit bars, raspados, aguas frescas, pies and sweet chili sauce, or mixed with chamoy, a sweet and spicy chili paste. It is popular on a stick dipped in hot chili powder and salt or also as a main ingredient in fresh fruit combinations.
Pieces of mango can be mashed and used as a topping on ice cream or blended with milk and ice as milkshakes. In Thailand and other South East Asian countries, sweet glutinous rice is flavored with coconut then served with sliced mango as a dessert.
In other parts of South-east Asia, mangoes are pickled with fish sauce and rice vinegar. Green mangoes are also used in mango salad with fish sauce and dried shrimps.
MANGO NUTRITION INFORMATION
Mango is rich in a variety of phytochemicals and nutrients that qualify it as a model "super fruit", a term used to highlight potential health value of certain edible fruits. In all, mangoes contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals.The fruit is high in prebiotic dietary fiber (up to 40% of your daily fiber requirement), vitamins B6, A and C, polyphenols and carotenoids. Mangoes are a great way to replenish potassium lost through physical activity.
Apart from being full of nutrition, mangoes contain an enzyme with stomach soothing properties similar to papain found in papayas. These enzymes act as a digestive aid.
HOW TO CUT A MANGO
The easiest way to cut a mango is the "Inside Out" method.
* Ensure your hands, utensils, work surface and fruit is clean.
* Stand the mango on your cutting board stem end down and hold. Remember, the mango has one long, flat seed in the centre of the fruit.
* Place your knife about 1/4" from the widest centre line and cut down through the mango.
*Flip the mango around and repeat this cut on the other side. The resulting ovals of mango flesh are known as the "cheeks". What's left in the middle is mostly the mango seed.
* Cut parallel slices into the mango flesh, being careful not to cut through the skin. Turn the mango cheek 1/4 rotation and cut another set of parallel slices to make a checkerboard pattern.
* Turn the scored mango cheek inside out by pushing the skin up from underneath.
* Scrape the mango chunks off of the skin, using the knife or a spoon.
The result: Beautiful cubes of fresh mango.
Source: Wikipedia, Current Science 2004, Organic Food.Com.Au and Indiamarks.com