In my Menu Planning class, I was tasked with writing a paper on the history of a food of my choice. One of my blog readers recommended the mango, which I chose! If you have never tried mangoes, or if you have only eaten them in fruit salads, then it’s time to take the mango more seriously. Not only are they delicious, but they are also nutritious and visually appealing.
Here are some interesting facts (and two recipes) about mangoes, which I included in my paper:
- Defined by the Dictionary of Food as: a large round to pear- or kidney-shaped tropical fruit weighing between 0.25 and 1 kg, from a tree, Magnifera indica. The fruit when ripe has a juicy, slightly fibrous orange flesh with a distinctive flavor, a large central stone and a thick green through yellow to red inedible skin.
- The skin has the potential to cause contact dermatitis or burning of the mouth, lips and tongue.
- Native to southern Asia, they are the national fruit of India and the Philippines, and were brought to the Western Hemisphere in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds.
- Mangoes were used for a variety of purposes in India, including:
- Eating and Drinking
- as a relish, curry, chutney and a sauce for meat and fish
- eaten ripe or pickled when green
- juice, mango-fool (boiled mango pulp, strained and sugared) and wine
- Medicinal Purposes
- treatments of asthma, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, warts, hiccups, sunstroke, insomnia, dysentery, and whooping cough
- Nutritional Purposes
- a good source of vitamin A and C and carbohydrates
- Religious Ceremonies
- referred to as “the king of fruits” and celebrated as having holy properties
- used in Deity worship, wedding ceremonies, and good luck practices
- Eating and Drinking
Because the mango is so juicy, a special ‘Mango Fork’ was recommended in eating it. It is a three-pronged fork with the middle prong longer than the rest to hold the fruit. Additionally, peeling a mango can be a rather involved process, as described here by Chef Emeril Lagasse:
“Mangoes have a large, flat, oblong seed that extends almost the entire length of the fruit, making them tricky to peel. I find that the best way to peel a mango is to hold the fruit firmly against the cutting board and cut along each side of the pit to remove the two large sections. Each section can then be cubed into a crosshatch pattern: Make crosswise cuts through the flesh, just to the skin. Press up on the skin side of the section and the cubes will stand out. You may then cut the cubes away from the peel with a knife.” (Lagasse, pg. 16).
For extra credit, I prepared a Mango Salsa (courtesy Ellie Krieger) and brought it into class to share. You can find the recipe here.
Also, I tried a great recipe for Mango Coconut Rice (courtesy Paula Deen), which you can find here.
Finally, try a Cucumber, Mango and Black Bean Salad (not pictured) – find the recipe here.
Do you have any comments on Mangoes? I would love to hear about how you have used them, either in your favorite recipes or otherwise!!
1. Deen, Paula. “Mango Coconut Rice.” Food Network.com. Food Network. 2007. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.
2. Krieger, Ellie. “Mango Salsa.” Food Network.com. Food Network, 01 May 2006. Web. 18 Feb 2014.
3. Lagasse, Emeril. Emeril’s There’s a Chef in my World! Recipes That Take You Places. New York: HarperCollins. 2006. Print.