I am a huge fruit lover, in particular, I love tropical and exotic fruits. From the Jujube fruit to the yellow dragon fruit to the passion fruit to many more fruits I have shared here on my website. In this article, learn all about one of my all-time favorite fruits, the mango. I am going to tell you where mangoes come from, what the health benefits are, how to eat mangoes, and finally what they taste like.
I first developed my love for mangoes when I was living in the Philippines for a couple of years in the late 1990s. There are so many delicious tropical fruits that grow there, and one of the best is of course the mango. This leads us to the first topic for this article, where mangoes come from and where they grow.
Where do mangoes come from and where do they grow?
The magnificent mango is a tropical and subtropical fruit that originated in India. However, it has long since for a few thousand years been cultivated all over the world.
So the mango started in India, but then spread out to other parts of Asia, like China, and then to the Middle East. As the years passed the mango was brought by explorers to many other tropical and subtropical regions of the world like South America, Africa, and many different islands like the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, and many other places.
The bottom line is the mango can grow in most tropical, and subtropical areas. I can’t possibly list all of the countries where they grow because they grow in so many. Southern Spain is another area where they grow really well.
Here in the United States, the mango grows well in Florida, Hawaii, Southern Texas, and Southern California, and fun fact the mango fruit will even grow well here in the Phoenix area if properly cared for.
The above picture shows a mango tree I used to have on my back patio at my townhome. When my parents moved to Gilbert, AZ from California, I planted my little mango tree in their backyard. The past two seasons we have gotten delicious mangoes from that tree.
Another cool thing about the mango is there are over 500 varieties of mango that grow in the world!
Another interesting fact, Mexico is the biggest exporter of Mangoes to the United States.
What are the health benefits of mangoes?
The mango fruit is a very nutritious fruit. Here are a few of the health benefits that come with eating them:
- The mango is packed with Vitamin C.
- Good source of minerals like copper and folate.
- Low in calories. A standard-sized mango only has around 70 calories.
- High in healthy plant compounds.
- They support heart health.
- Mangoes may improve digestion.
There are many more benefits not listed. You can find more health benefits at Healthline.
How do you know when a mango is ripe?
There are three main ways to tell if a mango is ripe enough to eat:
- Depending on the variety they will turn from green to yellow, orange, red, or a combination of those colors. However, there are some varieties of mango that will still be green when they are ready to eat.
- When you press on the skin there will be some give to it instead of being really firm. Similar to when an avocado is ripe. If the mango is really mushy it is over-ripe.
- And finally, most of the time a ripe mango will give off a nice fragrance when smelled closely.
How do I cut and eat mangoes?
There are a variety of ways to learn how to eat mangoes. I am going to showcase two of the popular ways with pictures and will describe a few of the other ways to eat mangoes.
Here is one of the most popular ways to cut and eat a mango.
Take the mango and place the stem end down on a cutting board. There should be a natural flat spot after removing the stem remnant, if not, slice a little piece off so the mango will sit flat on your cutting board while sitting on the stem. The flat spot will keep the mango steady while slicing it.
Now at the center of the mango, there is a large pit covered in a woody husk that is almost the size of the mango. Take your knife and place it off center about 1/4 of an inch, then slice down.
Your blade will hopefully just barely graze the pit. If you run into the pit just move the knife over a little bit more then slice down. This flesh side that you just cut off is known as the “cheek.”
There are two mango cheeks, so now you just need to cut the other side.
Then take your knife and make long slits in the flesh but don’t go through the skin, then make slits in the other direction creating a grid.
Now press up on the bottom of the cheek which will fan out the cubes. You can eat them right off the skin, slice them off with a knife, or scoop them out with a spoon. You can even run it down a slide of a glass which will remove them as well.
Another way to cut it is to just slice the cheek into wedges. Then hold those to your mouth and bite the flesh off leaving the skin.
Now you can remove the skin from the middle part and cut any leftover flesh that is on that. Save or toss the seed.
You can also start by peeling the mango by slicing the peel off with a knife or using a potato peeler. Then slice the cheeks off. The mango will get a bit slippery so I recommend holding it with a paper towel.
Another way is to just bite into the mango like you would an apple and eat the flesh with or without the skin. You can also, slice around the middle of the mango and twist it to remove it from the seed.
A popular way they are prepared in Mexico is by peeling them, then cutting them in the shape of a flower, and running a thick wooden stick through the center. I LOVE them prepared this way and I always buy them when I am down in Mexico.
What do mangoes taste like?
Mangoes are soft, sweet, juicy, and can be a little stringy depending on the variety. Also, the different varieties will taste a little different but they will all have that distinct mango taste.
A good way to describe the taste of the mango is a mix of citrus like an orange, a peach, and a cantaloupe, with a tropical flavor. It is hard to describe what they taste like, because they taste like a mango, haha. But that kind of gives you an idea of what they taste like to me.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to eat mangoes along with lots of other information about them. Enjoy! Let me know in the comments what your favorite variety of mango is.
Commonly asked questions:
Is the skin of the mango edible?
Yes, the skin is edible, you can just bite into the ripe mango and eat it like a pear or apple, skin and all. You can throw the mango skin in with smoothies. You can dry them out or roast them and eat them like chips. The skin is also very nutritious.
However, you may have a slight allergic reaction to the skin. It contains a small amount of the same chemical that is in poison ivy, so if you are really allergic to poison ivy, the skin of a mango may cause a mild reaction.
Are mango seeds edible?
Yes, you can eat mango seeds. You will first need to remove them from the woody, thin, husk that surrounds the seed. To remove the seed, rinse the husk off after removing the mango flesh. Then use a butter knife and pry it open so you can pull the actual seed out.
Boil and fry the seeds, similar to how you can cook jackfruit seeds.
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