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Mango is a great fruit that comes from tropical regions in the world. It is very popular and common in countries like Mexico and India. Mango is a tropical indigenous fruit of Indian subcontinent. Mango is considered to be the King of fruits. It is popularly known as ‘kairi’ or ‘aam’ in India. Due to its delectable taste, mango is used in cooking various types of mango dishes such as mango ice-cream, aam panna, mango salsa and mango pickle. The taste of mango is generally sweet. Some mangoes are pulpy in texture whereas some have firm texture. The color of mangoes varies from yellow to orange.

Origin of Mango

The origin and native home of mango is considered to be Eastern India, especially Assam to Burma. According to historians, Indo-Burma region is believed to be the centre of origin of mango. Fossil records and evidence of the wild cultivated varieties of mango shows that Malay region of India is also the place of origin of mango.

Culinary Uses of Mango

Mango has a very special place in the culinary world across the globe. The delicacies like mango salsa, mango pie, mango juice, mango jelly and mango relish are famous mango recipes in international cuisine. Mango is extensively used in cooking as a flavoring agent. The juice, color and fragrance of mango are widely used in many mango dishes. Mango dishes are made with both ripe and unripe mangoes. Unripe mangoes are generally used to make pickles, relishes and sauces. Ripe mangoes are used in making ice creams, juices, smoothies and other sweet and savory dishes.

Cuisines Commonly Making Mango Dishes

Mango dishes and mango recipes are quiet popular in Indian and South Asian cuisine. ‘Panna’, a common summer drink made up of mango pulp, is very popular among Indians. ‘Amrakhand’ is a typical Indian specialty that involves whipped mango pulp into rich sweet yogurt. Mango lassi is also a very popular drink throughout South Asia. Mango is widely used in making preserves such as ‘murabba’, and mango pickle with mustard oil. In some parts of South-east Asia, fish sauce and rice vinegar are mixed with mangoes to make a delectable condiment. In Central America, unripe and green mangoes are eaten with salt and pepper. In western cuisine, mangoes are mostly used to make sweet dishes such as sherbets, puddings, jams, frostings and baked items.

Preferable Cooking Methods for Mangoes

• Pureeing – Mango pulp is used in puree form to make ice creams, puddings and other sweet dishes.

• Pickling – This is one of the most popular methods of using mangoes in cooking. Mustard oil or vinegar is often used to make mango pickle.

• Drying – Mangoes are dried to make mango powder known as ‘amchur’ in Indian cuisine. It is widely used as an Indian spice.

• Chopping – Chopped mango pieces are often added to salads and many savory dishes to add flavor.

Nutritive Value of Mango

Mangoes are not only delectable; they also come with numerous health benefits. Mango dishes are full of iron, and are recommended for pregnant women and people suffering from anemia. Mangoes also combat acidity, improve digestion, and help to unclog the pores of the skin. The mango dishes contain phenols that are high in antioxidants. It is a rich source of vitamin A and vitamin E, which help the hormonal system function efficiently. Selenium present in mango recipes provides protection against heart diseases.

Buying and Storing of Mangoes

While buying mango it is advised to check the fragrance of the fruit. No aroma means mango is not ripe or suitable for eating. Black spots and wrinkled skin are also the signs of ageing mangoes. Some mangoes have pulpy texture but if it is firm from one side and pulpy from other, then mango is overripe and stale. Whole green mangoes are also not recommended for buying as they would be never ripe. Mangoes are always stored in cold and moist environments. Mango dishes can also be stored in refrigerator for maximum 2-3 days.

Types of Mango

Mango is a tropical fruit that comes in as many as 1000 different varieties and all are equally delectable. Here is the list of few popular varieties of mango:

• Alphonso - Also known as ‘appas’. It is one of the highest varieties of mango.

• Dusehri – Mostly eaten in North India.

• Langra – Cultivated mostly in UP region of India

• Safeda – Its an early crop of mango

• Gulab khas – It has a pleasant fragrance like rose and very sweet in taste

Some other varieties of mango are Fazli, zardalu, chausa, neelam and devgadh. All varieties have distinct taste, texture and color.

Mango Trivia

• In old cookbooks, cantaloupes were often termed as mango.

• Mango stems, if remain attached to the fruit may cause allergic infection.