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Health food of the month - Sweet Mangoes for Spring

March 2014

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Cheese

Pickled Vegetables

Turkey


 

Diet & Supplements Index


With so many people travelling to far flung places, mangoes are no longer considered the exotic fruit they were just a decade or so ago.

But familiarity hasn’t made them any less delicious - or nutritious!! Mangoes, for all their sweet loveliness, also contain lots of good nutrients.

This fleshy tone fruit belongs to the genus Mangifera, a range of tropical trees that produce various edible fruits.


Mangoes contain phenolic and carotenoid compounds (gallotannins, alpha-carotene, bête-cryptoxanthin) that are thought to help offer some protection against certain types of cancer. They contain vitaman A and also beta-carotene which can boost eye health, and they also contain vitamin B6 to help contol homocysteine , an amino acid in your blood associated with heart disease and stroke.

Mangoes also contain vitamin C plus small levels of calcium, iron and magnesium. A really useful aspect is the soluble fibre it contains.

There are some mango enthusiasts who use mango and mango juice to help clear clogged pores on the skin; but with its delicious sweet flavour it must be hard to resist eating it!

Mangoes of course are now available in most supermarkets right through the year.  They mainly come from central and south America and in some cases North America, although being a tropical fruit they can be cultivated worldwide.

There are mainly six types of mango:  Ataulfo, Haden, Keitt, Ken, Francis and Tommy Atkins.  They each have different features.

Ataulfo, with their sweet creamy flavour, have more flesh and smaller seeds than other varieties. They are fairly small and when fully ripe they are vibrant yellow.

Haden mangoes are the bright red ones you see in the shops usually around April and May time. They mainly come from Mexico and usually have green and yellow overtones and sometimes small white dots; when the green begins to turn to a rich yellow they are ripe to eat.  They have a lovely aromatic flavour.

Keitt mangoes usually arrive later in summer and have a lovely fresh fruity flavour. They are oval shaped and often have a definite green colour with a soft pink blush. This is one mango that doesn’t turn to yellow when ripe, the skin will remain green when the fruit is perfect for eating.

Kent mangoes are again a dark green but have a darker red blush and you need to wait until the skin is tinged with yellow before they are totally ripe. They have a very sweet, deep and rich flavour.

Francis mangoes offer a rich spicy flavour. They are slightly more elongated than some mango varieties and have a bright yellow skin with green overtones that fade as the fruit becomes riper. This variety is especially grown on independent farms in Haiti and are mainly available in early summer.

Tommy Atkins are redder than most mangoes, they come in a dark red blush colour with some green and yellow. This colour does not change and the only way to check whether the fruit is ripe is to push into its skin. They have a slightly milder flavour than other mangoes, but are gently sweet and still delicious.

When you buy a mango, you can often determine its ripeness but smelling it; a ripe mango will give off a mature, sweet scent.

To ripen a mango, pop it into a paper bag and leave it stored in room temperature, maybe on the kitchen counter or similar.  If you need the mango to ripen in a hurry, add an apple to the bag. This will increase the levels of ethylene gas in the bag which will speed up the ripening process.

Apart from eating mango fresh, mangoes can be used in a range of fabulous dishes including salads.
There are lots of mango recipes available on the net.

Also, if you would like a bit more background to the fruit and also tips on how to cut it, YouTube gives some good clear information.



 

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