Mangoes are a delicious, juicy stone fruit that grows in tropical environments.
These fruits are popular in several cultures, dishes, and drinks around the world – and for good reason! But how did mangoes come to be so widely loved, and what is it that really makes them so special?
A Stone Fruit
The mango is considered a stone fruit, classified as a fruit “with flesh or pulp enclosing a stone”. Other stone fruits include such things as peaches, plums, or cherries.
They are the fruit of mango trees, which typically grow to be between 115 and 131 feet tall. These trees usually live for a long time, and it’s estimated that there are some kinds of mango trees that still produce fruit after 300 years!
Usually, the flowers of the mango tree are small and have five white petals. They’re typically known for their sweet fragrance. Usually, mangoes fruit from their flowers after four or five months.
Because the fruit varies in kind, it also varies in shape, sweetness, color, and size. The most common mangoes we see today range in color from yellow to red and green.
These fruits are usually round and might be oval or kidney-shaped. Each fruit weighs in anywhere between 5 ounces and 5 pounds, yet again depending on the type of mango.
Varieties of Mango
Today, there are hundreds of mango species. Sometimes, several different species will be grown in the same orchards in order to keep pollination percentages high.
It’s important to note that not every place is equal when it comes to the cultivation of mangoes, and some varieties might not grow as well in one place as it does another.
A few of the many mango varieties and their common names include:
- Almaas, found in Pakistan
- Brooks, found in Australia and the U.S.
- Fairchild, found in the U.S.
- Lakshmanbhog, found in India,
- Langra, found in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
- Peddarasama, found in Andhra and India
- Zill, found in South Africa and the U.S.
- Panchadharakalasa, found in India
- Palmer, found in Brazil, Australia, and the U.S.
Of course, these are just a few of the hundreds of mango varieties.
A History Of Cultivation
Mangoes have been a staple of South Asia for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the 10th century, however, that cultivation spread to other parts of the world.
Soon, East Africa began to grow the tropical fruit as well. Mangoes later came to Mexico, Brazil, and Bermuda. These kinds of warmer, tropical climates provide the perfect environment for growing the sweet fruit.
Today, the mango is now cultivated in several countries with a frost-free climate. In fact, around half of the world’s mangoes come from India. The second-largest source is China, but mangoes are also grown in the coastal regions of Spain.
If you’re looking to find mangoes in North America, you’ll want to look to South Florida and the Coachella Valley in California.
Other places you’ll find these delicious stone fruits include:
- Central Africa
- South Korea
Today, it’s estimated that the global production of mangoes is over 50.6 million tons. In fact, in 2017, the biggest producers of mangoes were:
- India, with 19.5 million tons produced
- China, with 4.8 million tons produced
- Thailand, with 4.8 million tons produced
- Thailand, with 3.8 million tons produced
- Indonesia, with 2.6 million tons produced
- Mexico, with 2.0 million tons produced.
The Sweet Mango
Those mangos that are best for eating typically have very sweet yellow or yellow-orange flesh. This flesh can sometimes be difficult to separate from the large seed that is found in the middle of the mango.
In addition to being eaten raw, mangoes are used in a variety of dishes and drinks around the world. This includes such recipes as:
- Mango Salsa
- Mango Salad
- Mango Smoothies
- Mango Salmon
- Mango Ice Cream
- Mango with Steak
- Spicy Mango Rice
- Mango-Blueberry Muffins
The skin of the mango can be consumed but may cause allergic reactions in some people.
The After-Dinner Mango
The sweet nature of the mango naturally lends itself to some seriously refreshing post-dinner treats that you won’t want to miss out on!
Frozen mango tarts with macadamia nut crusts are just one of these incredible recipes.
In addition to mangoes, you’ll need macadamia nuts, sugar, flour, butter, orange juice, and unflavored gelatin, as well as a few other ingredients that you may already have around the house.
A History Of Cultural Relevance
Because it’s been such a popular fruit throughout history, the mango has garnered quite the historical and cultural significance that continues today.
In fact, the mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and the mango tree is the national tree of Bangladesh.
The harvesting of mangoes in India between March and May is of huge popular interest and is even covered by news agencies and journalists each year.
Other Uses For The Mango
Mango leaves are often used to decorate archways and doors during Indian weddings and other celebrations.
Additionally, mangoes can actually be used in a homemade face-wash as a pore cleanser and blackhead treatment.
A Love For Mangoes
Whether you’re trying a mango for the first time or are already a fan, mangoes are a seriously yummy tropical fruit that’ll have you coming back for more – from mango dessert to mango drink!