Marvelous Mangoes

Mangoes

With summer just around the corner and weather heating up, it is time to start enjoying all of the fresh fruit that the season has to offer. The mango is a fruit that I never really grew up eating frequently, but have come to enjoy in a variety of forms. This orange-colored fruit originated in the Indian subcontinent and is now cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The fruit usually takes about 3 to 6 months to ripen on the trees. Mangoes can typically be found in grocery stores year round, but are in season from January through September with the most flavorful fruit found toward the end of the season. The top countries for production of mangoes are India, China, Mexico, Thailand, Pakistan, Indonesia and Brazil.

The mango is also rich in nutrients and phytochemicals. The vibrant orange pulp or meat of the mango contains prebiotic dietary fiber, polyphenols and antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C and E. The mango also contains vitamin Bb and K, as well as other B vitamins, potassium, copper and 17 amino acids. Some studies have shown that mangoes are protective against prostate, skin, breast and colon cancers. The skin also contains some nutrients, but is thick and bitter, so it is usually discarded when mango is eaten fresh; the skin is typically eaten only when mangoes have been pickled.

Although delicious, the trickiest things about mangoes is cutting them. This is because the pit of the mango is oblong and flat. The mango can be cut several ways, but I prefer the following method. Cut off the top of the mango, where the stem is, allowing you to see the orientation of the pit and provide a flat surface for cutting. Then peel the mango, using a potato peeler, rather than a knife, as it is a simple and easy way to avoid wasting fruit and cutting yourself. Cut the mango off the flat sides of the pit, so that I have two large pieces of mango to dice. Slowly working my way around the mango, I cut off the remaining mango fruit from the pit. Cutting a mango definitely takes some practice. I found this video helpful in learning how to easily cut a mango, although I tend to try to get more fruit off the pit than they do:

Mango Margaritas

A perfect summer treat to go along with any tropical dish or just for sipping poolside on a sunny day. Makes 4 margaritas.

  • 1 large mango, diced
  • 3/4 orange juice
  • 1/4 lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup
  • 1/3 cup silver tequila
  • 1/4 cup triple sec

Put the mango, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup, tequila and triple sec into the blender and blend until smooth. Add ice in 1/2 cup increments and blend until margarita mixture is thick yet pourable; you should have about 4 cups of margarita. Pour into glasses, serve and enjoy!

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