It is March break!!! Outside the snow is falling and the temperature is -18°C… I keep asking myself why I have not booked a vacation to a warm destination like some of my friends have done. I truly wish they all have a great time under the sun, so to celebrate their sunny vacation and to bring me back some warm memories of bright and sunny days, I have chosen to prepare a few comforting recipes with the “king of fruits”, i.e. mangoes.
Mango is a happy fruit, full of colors and flavor. I have fun childhood memories of climbing mango trees not only to savor a ripe fruit but also to enjoy a battle of mango pits with my siblings and friends. Now, far away from the tropics and from mango trees, I am able to recall these good memories every time I buy or eat a mango.
If you allow a mango to ripe properly, the aroma is sweet and fruity. This delectable aroma comes from the stem end of the fruit, and this is the best clue to indicate that a mango is ready to eat. Do not be deceived by red or orange tones on the skin as ripeness or judge green tones as not ripe… and as a matter of consideration for other buyers, please do not squeeze mangoes (and this applies to avocados, peaches, and plums too) to check for ripeness. This pressure can promote bruises on the fruit. Indeed the flesh of your mango will become softer as they ripe but be gentle with your food, use other senses, and exert patience. Good things take time…
Nutrients in mangoes:
A cup of mango provides 60% of your daily vitamin C needs and a third of a day’s vitamin A, about 3 grams of fiber, and a good dose of blood-pressure-lowering potassium. In addition, mangoes are also a source of vitamins B6, E and K, and of copper.
The vibrating color of mangoes is produced by the phytochemicals beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. These phytochemicals help to protect our eyes from damage by free radicals. Mangoes also contain carotenoids and polyphenols – these antioxidants have been associated with a reduced risk for certain cancers such as prostate, colon and breast cancers.
Added bonus, mangoes are less likely to have pesticides residues.
Ripening and storing mangoes:
- Unripe mangoes must be stored at room temperature. During the ripening process, the flesh will become sweeter and softer.
- Speed up ripening process naturally by placing a mango in a paper bag at room temperature. You can also add an apple or banana to further speed up the ripening process as these fruits will release more ethylene gas.
- Once ripe, move your mango to the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. You can also lock the freshness of ripe mangoes by peeling, cubing and storing the pieces into an airtight container or a freezer bag (to prevent freezer burn) for up to 6 months.
Mangoes have natural tenderizing properties, making them a perfect ingredient for marinades. This versatile ingredient is a great addition to smoothies, salads, salad dressings, salsas, chutneys, on fish, seafood, chicken or pork, as a featured ingredient on desserts or simply plain. Below are three simple but delicious recipes using mangoes. Enjoy!
AM, foods&foodies, 2017