An ancient fruit, mangos (also spelled "mangoes") are native to South and Southeast Asia, where they’ve been cultivated for thousands of years. From there they spread throughout the tropical and subtropical world. Today mangos are the most widely consumed fruit in the world, and in Latin America and the Caribbean, they are as common as the apple is in North America.
Though mangos have become a supermarket staple in this country (nearby Mexico is the largest producer in the world of this luscious fruit), many Americans still view them as odd or exotic. However, a first taste of their delicious, juicy orange flesh should make a fan out of anyone. The flavor of mangos is matchless, resembling a mix of peach and pineapple, only sweeter than either. The fruits are distantly related to poison ivy and poison oak (also cashews and pistachios), and for this reason some people may have a sensitivity to the mango’s skin.
Types of Mangos
Mangos come in hundreds of varieties and a range of shapes and sizes, from plum-sized fruits to those weighing 4 pounds or more. Here's a guide to the most common types.
Rich in nutrients, mangos are full of flavor and low in calories. Half a mango has only about 100 calories. Fragrant and juicy, they supply an ample amount of soluble fiber, including pectin, which helps reduce the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. Their vibrant orange flesh indicates that mangos are an excellent source of beta carotene, as well as small amounts of another carotenoid, beta cryptoxanthin. They are loaded with vitamin C, with one average-sized mango supplying over 60 percent of the RDA. Mangos are also one of a handful of low-fat sources of vitamin E.
For a full listing of nutrients, see Mangos in the National Nutrient Database.
How to Choose the Best Mangos
A perfectly ripe mango will have an intense, flowery fragrance and will yield slightly when touched. Here's what else to look for (and avoid).
How to Store Mangos at Home
Leave underripe mangos at cool room temperature for a few days to soften and sweeten—very warm temperatures can cause an off-flavor to develop. Place two mangos in a paper bag to speed ripening. Ripe fruits will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two to three days.
How to Slice Mangos
A mango is somewhat tricky to pit and slice. Hold the fruit standing on one of its ends. Make a slice vertically down one side of the pit, creating a near-half. Repeat on the other side of the pit; a band of fruit will remain around the pit. Use a paring knife to score the flesh of each half into cubes, being careful not to slice through the skin. Then turn the fruit inside-out so the cut side pops outward, and slice the cubes off the skin. Cut away the band of fruit left around the pit, then peel off the skin.
7 Ways to Serve Mangos
From salad to smoothies, here are some delicious ways to enjoy mango.
Published July 01, 2015