We’re heading into the last couple of weeks in March, which means just one thing – mangoes! Yes, mango season is starting soon, and you can already see the trees flowering. The smell of green mangoes is in the air, and very soon, the markets will be full of the sweet, pulpy, and utterly scrumptious fruit. Mangoes are amazing. They have over 20 different vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A and Vitamin C – great for strong bones, vision support and superior immunity-building abilities. They also are a good source of fibre. Diets low in fat and high in fibre-containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of some types of cancer. No wonder the mango is considered the king of fruits.
The world’s favourite fruit
Mangoes are the most popular fruit in the world, with the first being grown over 5,000 years ago in India. India grows more mangos than all other fruits combined and is the largest producer in the world. According to Indian folklore, Buddha was given a mango orchard by a faithful follower so that he could rest in its cool shade. Many believe that Buddha meditated under a mango tree. The English singular form mango comes from the Latin Mangifera indica meaning mango-bearing plant from India. They are distantly related to a few unexpected crops, such as the cashew and pistachio, which would explain why we in Goa love it so much!
Aam yourself with the perfect mango
Walking through the Panjim or Mapusa market during mango season is overwhelming. With so many different sellers selling so many varieties of mango, selecting the perfect one can be daunting. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while buying mangoes:
- Don’t focus on colour. It is not the best indicator of ripeness.
- Squeeze the mango gently. A ripe mango will give slightly.
- Use your experience with produce such as peaches or avocados, which also become softer as they ripen.
- Ripe mangoes will sometimes have a fruity aroma at their stem ends.
- The red colour that appears on some varieties is not an indicator of ripeness. Always judge by feel.
If you’re thinking of buying a whole bunch of mangoes and storing them, this might help:
- Keep unripe mangos at room temperature. Mangoes shouldn’t be refrigerated before they are ripe.
- Mangos will continue to ripen at room temperature, becoming sweeter and softer over several days.
- To speed up ripening, place mangoes in a paper bag at room temperature.
- Once ripe, mangoes should be moved to the refrigerator, which will slow down the ripening process. Whole, ripe mangoes may be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator.
- Mangoes may be peeled, cubed and placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to six months.
Do you love mangoes as much as we do? Do you have any fond ‘mango memories’? Let us know in the comments below.