Glossary of Foods: Mango

| Diet & Nutrition

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Sweet and tangy, bright and vibrant mangoes are so delicious that we've found ways to add them to countless sweet and savory dishes! This tropical stone fruit is suitable for much more than smoothies.

Did you know there are over 400 varieties of mango? Mangoes are highly cultivated to suit different climates, resist botanical diseases, and develop flavor. While mangoes are generally sweet, the flavor and texture of the flesh varies from type to type. Mangoes are native to South Asia where they have been grown and harvested on tall trees, up to 130 feet, for thousands of years. India is the largest producer of mangoes, but they are grown in most frost-free tropical and subtropical climates.

pile of fresh mangoes

Most varieties ripen in summer and give off a distinctive sweet scent. The green mango skin turns shades of yellow, orange and red as it ripens. The color of a ripe mango varies by variety. The flesh of the mango is a vibrant yellow and often very juicy. A long, flat, fibrous pit is difficult to remove from the flesh within the mango. In the grocery store, select plump, football-shaped mangoes with smooth skin. Generally, a ripe mango will be slightly soft to the touch, like a peach or avocado, and have a sweet scent.

The Tommy Atkins variety of mango is the most widely available variety in the United States. Originally from Florida, this mild and sweet mango has a beautiful red color with green and yellow accented on the skin. The rich Haden mango is very aromatic and comes most commonly from Mexico. The Ataulfo mango is sweet with bright yellow skin that is easy to distinguish. It has a very small seed so there is lots of flesh to enjoy for a smaller fruit. Study a mango variety guide to help you distinguish between fruits when shopping at the grocery store. Each type of fruit has unique tells for ripening and to distinguish its exact variety.

Mangoes are not particularly easy to slice. While there are now special mango slicers on the market that look similar to an apple slicer, it's much easier to slice your mango with the proper technique and know how. After slicing, dig into the fresh fruit or try one of our 5 mouth-wateringly good mango recipes! When enjoying mango, you'll also benefit from over 20 vitamins and minerals plus improved digestion and lowered cholesterol.

From smoothies to salsas and salads to sorbets, mango is a delicious tropical fruit you can enjoy in so many ways!

>> Read more: 10 Ways to Add More Fruit to Your Summer