Mangoes are juicy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees, cultivated mostly for edible fruit.
The mango is native to the South Asian areas of Eastern India, Burma and the Andaman Islands, from where it has been distributed worldwide to become one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropics.
There are over 400 mango varieties.
Mango trees grow to 35–40 meters (115–131 feet) tall, with a crown radius of 10 meters (33 feet). But mangoes in cultivation are generally pruned and kept much smaller for a more manageable harvest.
The trees are long-lived, as some specimens still fruit after 300 years.
The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15–35 cm (5.9–13.8 in) long, and 6–16 cm (2.4–6.3 in) broad; when the leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark, glossy red, then dark green as they mature.
The flowers are produced in terminal panicles 10–40 cm (3.9–15.7 in) long; each flower is small and white with five petals 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long, with a mild, sweet odor suggestive of lily of the valley.
Once the flowers are pollinated, it takes anywhere from three to six months for the mango fruit to develop, depending on the variety.
The ripe fruit varies in size and color. It can be yellow, orange, red and green.
Ripe, unpeeled mangoes give off a distinctive resinous, sweet smell.
In general, mangoes grown commercially are picked when mature but not fully ripe, so that they survive being shipped to market intact.
Edible part of the fruit consists of orange flesh that surrounds large flat, oblong pit that can be fibrous or hairy on the surface.
Inside the pit 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) thick is a thin lining covering a single seed, 4–7 cm (1.6–2.8 in) long. The seed contains the plant embryo. Mangoes have recalcitrant seeds – they do not survive freezing and drying.
Mangoes are generally sweet, although the taste and texture of the flesh varies across cultivars; some have a soft, pulpy texture similar to an overripe plum, while others are firmer, like a cantaloupe or avocado, and some may have a fibrous texture.
Some types of mangoes that can be found at specialty markets seasonally include the Ataulfo, Francis, Haden, Keitt and Kent. The Tommy Atkins mango is the most commonly grown mango in the United States. It is a large mango that is notable for its dark red skin, sometimes covered in green and yellow accents.
Mango is called the king of fruits not just for its taste and super flashy yellow color, but also for the array of health benefits it offers.
Mangoes contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, fiber, vitamin B6, and copper.
Mangoes fight cancer, alkalize the body, aid in weight loss, regulate diabetes, help digestion and clean your skin.
One cup (220 grams) of mangoes is just 100 calories, so it’s a satisfyingly sweet treat.
Mangoes are widely used in cuisine.
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.
Sour, unripe mangoes are used in chutneys, athanu, pickles, side dishes, or may be eaten raw with salt, chili, or soy sauce.
Ripe mangoes are used to make curries.
Mango lassi is popular throughout South Asia, prepared by mixing ripe mangoes or mango pulp with buttermilk and sugar.
Aam panna is an Indian drink renowned for its heat-resistant properties.
The pulp from ripe mangoes is used to make jam called mangada.
In many Latin and some Asian countries, mango on a stick with the skin peeled back is sold by street vendors.
In April 2014, a pair of mangoes sold for a record 300,000 yen ($2.600). The two mangoes were sold under the Taiyo no Tamago label, which translates as “Egg of the Sun”. The label is famous for its rigorous criteria, including a minimum weight and a high sugar content.
The heaviest mango weighed 3.435 kg (7.57 lb) and was presented by Sergio and Maria Socorro Bodiongan (Philippines) at the Sundayag Celebration’s Pinaka Contest in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, on 27 August 2009.
Botanically, this exotic fruit belongs within the family of Anacardiaceae, a family that also includes numerous species of tropical-fruiting trees in the flowering plants such as cashew, pistachio…
Around the 5th century B.C., Buddhist monks are believed to have introduced the mango to Malaysia and eastern Asia – legend has it that Buddha found tranquility and meditated under the cool shade of a mango tree.
Persian traders took the mango into the middle east and Africa, from there the Portuguese brought it to Brazil and the West Indies. Mango cultivars arrived in Florida in the 1830’s and in California in the 1880’s.
Nearly half of the world’s mangoes are produced in India, but the country accounts for less than one percent of the international mango trade due to the fact India consumes most of its own.
In Hinduism, the perfectly ripe mango is often held by Lord Ganesha as a symbol of attainment, regarding the devotees’ potential perfection.