Did you know that the mango is considered sacred in India and that that’s where these delicious golden orbs of amazingness hail from? And, they’re a symbol of love! Yeah, I think I need to book the next flight to India stat. Granted, they are now cultivated in places like Florida, California, Mexico, Hawaii, etc.
The earliest mention of the mango tree can be found in Hindu scriptures dating back to 4000 BC. Legend has it, the Buddha was given a whole grove of mango trees where he could rest whenever he wanted to. It’s this associate with the Buddha that caused the mango to become sacred and thought to be capable of granting wishes. In some of the oldest Sanskrit writings the mango tree is central in the legend of undying love. The legend goes a something like this. The kind of the land fell in love with, and married, the daughter of the sun, Surya Bai. Surya Bai was forced to transform herself into a golden lotus in order to avoid getting persecuted by and evil sorceress. When the kind of the land fell in love with the lotus the evil sorceress burnt the flower to ashes. From these ashes sprang a magnificent mango tree and Surya Bai emerged from one of the golden mangos that had fallen to the ground. The king of the land immediately recognized her as his wife and the two were reunited. Evil sorceress be damned!
Even though the mango originated in India, it can now be found throughout the world thanks to explorers falling in love with the fruit and transporting it to places like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hawaii, California, Mexico, Florida, etc. As the fruit flourished it also picked up some nicknames like, “apple of the tropics,” “king of fruits,” and “fruit of the Gods.” Ah, the humble mango!
Apparently mangos are not popular everywhere. This of course is a mystery to me, because I love love love them, but nonetheless it’s true. The mango was first recorded in Europe in 1328 by Friar Jordanus and Europeans did not rejoice in their deliciousness. Even today they remain an infrequently eaten fruit in Europe. More mangos for me!
Mangos are quite nutritious. They are an excellent source of:
- Carotene – 184% of your vitamin A needs
- Vitamin C – 61% of your daily needs
- Copper 20% of your daily needs
- Vitamin B6 – 17% of your daily needs
- Thiamine & Riboflavin – 9% of your daily needs
- Vitamin E – 12% of your daily needs
- Folic Acid – 6% of your daily needs
- Potassium – 7% of your daily needs
- Magnesium – 5% of your daily needs
- Fiber – 12% of your daily needs, with half being soluble fiber which latches on to cholesterol and helps prevent cardiovascular disease
Numerous tests have been run on mangos and their effects on fighting diseases like cancer which are quite interesting. There has been quite a bit of research on the effects of mangos on gallbladder cancer and gallstones. Additional research has been conducted on mangos and their protection against infection, giardia, diarrhea, intestinal disease, and viruses. They’ve been shown to support gut integrity, aid in the treatment of anemia, help with muscle cramps, stress and heart problems, and help with acidosis. They can also safely be enjoyed by people with diabetes as the glucose response to the mango was the lowest of all tropical fruits.
How to choose a mango:
Mangos are grown around the world but if you’re in the US and are able to, try and choose fruit grown in Florid or Hawaii, as imported mangoes are often irradiated or sprayed with chemicals banned in the US. Mangos rang in size and shape depending upon variety. A ripe mango will yield to gentle pressure and will have a nice floral aroma. If it feels spongy or has lops of dark spots then it’s overripe. The skin of a mango should be smooth and largely unblemished. You’ll find that most will also have an area of yellow, orange, or red which increases in size as the fruit ripens. Slightly underripe mangoes can be placed in a paper bag to ripen in a day or so.
Recipes for inspiration:
Mango Lemonade – Lemonade is one of those things that can be loaded with white sugar, this recipe uses the natural sweetness of mangos and if you need a little extra sweetness it recommends honey for the win.
Spicy Mango & Lime Salad – by yours truly of course
Thai Mango Cabbage Wraps with Crispy Tofu and Peanut Sauce – Asian inspired recipes are my weakness. This recipe isn’t gluten-free but could easily be adjusted. I might sub in liquid amino for soy sauce and dig in.
Chicken in Coconut Mango Verde Sauce – The possibilities are endless with this recipe. You could swap out chicken for tofu for example.
Mango Sorbet – If you’re looking for a cold treat on a hot summer night then this might be what you’re looking for. Actually, I might need to make this this weekend.
What are your favorite ways to eat mangoes? Do you have any favorite mango recipes? Please share in the comments section below.