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Meet Mangos / How Mexico Got Its Mangos / Mexican Mango Varieties / What’s In Your Supermarket When / Who Loves Mangos Best? / Picking A Great Mango / Home Care / Kitchen Equivalents / Easy Ways To Enjoy Mangos / To Your Health!

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Most Americans would consider mangos an exotic fruit. To the rest of the world though, they are as familiar as apples or pears are to us! In fact, mangos are the #1 most consumed fruit in the world.

Americans are falling in love with this fragrant fruit. We’ve tasted that sassy mango flavor in sorbets, smoothies and flavored yogurt, and now it’s time to go to the source: the warm-hued ambrosial flesh of the fruit itself.

These days, mangos are available just about year round. The leading supplier to the U.S. (and the rest of the world) is Mexico—and, in terms of quality, Mexican mangos are the gold standard. Fortunately for us, it’s only a short ride from the mango orchards and packing houses of Mexico to American markets, and the season for this premium tree-ripened fruit is a lengthy one, running from February until mid-September, and peaking from April to July.

Meet Mangos top
Mango varieties differ greatly in both appearance and flavor. The shape can be oblong, kidney-shaped or round, and the skin color ranges from red to golden to green. The flesh, which ranges from mellow yellow to deep orange, surrounds a pit that is usually large and flat. Even before peeling, the aroma hints at the flavor of the fruit, which suggests citrus, pineapple and peach, but is uniquely sublime.

How Mexico Got Its Mangos top
Mangos have been traced back at least five thousand years to Southeast Asia. The seeds first made their way to Mexico via the Philippines in the 17th century. Other varieties reached Mexico only during the 19th century, after following a circuitous route through Persia to Africa or Portugal and from there to the West Indies.

Mangos thrived (and continue to thrive) in Mexico, where the moderate climate and alternation of rainy and dry seasons provide ideal growing conditions. The towering evergreen trees, with their shiny leaves and plump mangos, flourish in several parts of Mexico, from the Yucatan peninsula in the southeast all the way up the Pacific coast to Mazatlan.

Once picked and packed, Mexican mangos go global. Mexico is the dominant supplier not only to the U.S., where it has two-thirds of the market share, but to the world. Though mangos are imported into the U.S. from other countries, Mexican mangos have the edge, quality wise. Because the distance to our markets is relatively short (just eight hours by truck from some northern growing regions), the fruit can be ripened longer on trees, resulting in unrivalled sweetness.

Mexican mangos destined for the U.S. market are processed separately in a facility certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The fruit undergoes a phytosanitary hot water treatment before it is shipped.

Mexican Mango Varieties top
Mexico produces five varieties of mangos for export to the U.S., each with distinctive qualities. With a little practice, you’ll learn to recognize them. Their growing seasons are staggered, so from February until September, Mexican mangos just keep coming!

American consumers tend to like red mangos, believing they’ll be riper and sweeter. But color is literally only skin deep. A mango’s red blush gives no indication of ripeness. Some varieties remain yellow or green when ripe, so in general, softness and aroma are better indicators of ripeness than color. Many mangos acquire a yellow background color as they ripen but the green varieties remain that color even at their peak of sweet ripeness.

What’s In Your Supermarket top

Who Loves Mangos Best? top
Only about one in three Americans has ever tasted a fresh mango! And, on average, Americans eat less than two pounds of mangos a year. Mango consumption has doubled in the past decade, however.

Groups that already know and love mangos include Hispanics (especially those of Mexican and Caribbean descent) and Asians (especially Indians).

Times are changing, though. Americans are encountering more mangos in their supermarkets, more mangos on restaurant menus and more mango recipes in newspapers and magazines. To try a mango is to love it. And that’s why the popularity of this fruit is rising rapidly.

Picking A Great Mango top

The sniff test: Inhale the aroma of the mango near the stem end. Does it smell fragrant, fruity, appetizing? These pleasant scents are signs of ripeness. Mangos with little or no scent may simply need a little more time to ripen.
Squeeze gently: Mangos often grow softer as they ripen. Mango connoisseurs like to choose a mango with a skin that has just begun to shrivel—a sign that it is approaching maximum sweetness.
Check the color: Red mango varieties usually develop warm yellow background hues as they ripen. But others, such as green and yellow varieties—tend to retain the same color even when ripe.

Home Care top
Ripen mangos at room temperature, perhaps on a kitchen counter. To speed up the process, place them in a closed paper bag. Once ripe, mangos can be refrigerated.

Kitchen Equivalents top
1 medium-sized Mexican mango (about 1 pound), peeled and pitted:
about 1 1/2 cups sliced or diced
about 1 cup puréed

Easy Ways To Enjoy Mangos top

On the Sweet Side:

  • Mix mango cubes with lime juice and a little honey or sugar. Eat as is or spoon over vanilla ice cream or lemon sorbet.
  • Make a quick and nutritious Mexican-style liquado by whirling peeled, sliced mango in a blender with milk, ice and sugar.
  • Sprinkle ripe yet still firm unpeeled mango cheeks with brown sugar. Broil until warm.
  • Score. Serve topped with toasted shredded coconut or with vanilla ice cream.

Savory Mango Ideas:

  • Add diced mango to a chopped salad along with cooked baby shrimp, red bell pepper and avocado. Toss with a citrus vinaigrette.
  • Sprinkle mango slices with lime juice and chili powder, as the Mexicans do, or with salt, as is common in Puerto Rico.
  • Combine chopped mango, onion, jalapeño, lime juice and salt to make a quick all-purpose salsa. Serve with grilled fish or chicken or chips.

To Your Health! top
Mangos are an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A. They also provide potassium, a nutrient in which many people are deficient, and fiber. A serving consisting of half a medium-sized mango contains about 70 calories.

For more information, contact:
Mangos from Mexico Packer and Exporter Association (EMEX)
Lewis and Neale Inc.
35 East 21st Street
New York, NY 10010


How To Cut a Mango
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Mango Varieties

Mango Recipes

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Mangos From Mexico Packer and Exporter Association (EMEX)
c/o Lewis and Neale Inc
35 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010