In the late spring and throughout summer, you’ll find a treasure of fresh produce to enjoy. If you’re searching for some vitamin-packed fruit for your family to sample, you can’t go wrong with mango. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how versatile this succulent fruit is to use in your kitchen.
The Green Bell Pepper Mystery Solved
If you asked for mango in a grocery store, you might be offered one of two different foods. It just depends on what part of the country the store is located in. For many folks in the Midwest and Southern states, you’ll get a green bell pepper.
How can a zesty green bell pepper be mistaken for the golden sweet fruit that’s native to India and other parts of Asia? The misnomer wasn’t a mistake in identity. Rather, it evolved from naming the whole process of pickling fruit.
According to an article published by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the odd identification goes back to American colonial days. The English were enthralled with the exotic edibles of India. To avoid spoilage when shipping overseas, this delightful stone fruit was usually preserved in a brine solution.
Once the colonists got a taste of these pickled fruits, demand for them increased, says the article. Soon, any imported pickled fruit was named after the golden fruit regardless of if they were apples, pears, or peaches. Pickled green bell peppers were a favorite, and they still share the same name in many areas today.
These vibrant products are called stone fruits since they have a seed pit in their centers. They are related to other common stone fruits like cherries, peaches, plums, and avocados. A relevant case study published by the USDA states our country imports most of these fruits from Mexico and India.
Although these yummy fruits are native to these lands, they are also grown and harvested in tropical areas of the United States. An article published by the University of California-Davis explains domestic ones are produced in California, Florida, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Thanks to a globally revolving crop, they are generally available all year round.
Is It a Nut?
Botanically, they are fruits since they are the ovaries of the plant with internal seeds. But did you know that they are closely related to cashews and pistachios? They also grow on evergreen trees in tropical climates. The trees of some varieties can grow as tall as 90 feet.
Understanding the Different Varieties?
Like other tasty fruits, the variety you choose depends on how you want to prepare them. They are delicious to eat fresh, but certain types are better than others to dry or puree for recipes.
- Ataulfo: If you want a tender, juicy bite, this variety is one of your best bets. Ataulfo is smaller than most other varieties and is usually golden yellow. They have a delicate texture that is creamy and satisfying for your sweet tooth.
- Tommy Atkin: Among the various types you’ll see in the produce aisle, Tommy Atkin is the most recognizable. Their colorful skin is often a blend of yellow, red, and green, and their flesh is firm. Dice them for a fresh fruit salad or use them in chutneys.
- Hadan: This variety shares a common ancestor. It was first cultivated in Florida in the early 20th century. They have an attractive scarlet and golden color with a juicy sweetness that’s perfect for fruit smoothies.
What Are the Health Benefits of Eating These Fruits?
Not only are these tropical fruits delicious, easy to find, and inexpensive, but they’re also good for you. Plus, they are so juicy and sweet that you won’t have problems getting your pickiest eaters to try them. Here are five reasons to enjoy eating these fragrant fruits.
1. They are loaded with Vitamins and Minerals
A study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals your body needs. They are full of good fiber that can help your digestive system. Most are found in the tasty pulp, per the study.
Some nutrients present include the following:
- Vitamins: A, C, B5, K
2. Mango Has a High Level of Antioxidants
During the process that your body’s cells take in oxygen, some molecules are left out, called free radicals. These free radicals float throughout your system and cause damage to cell walls. Fortunately, many foods have natural antioxidants that protect your cells and help keep them healthy.
An article published by Nutrition Facts states that these fruits are rich in antioxidants. It mentions that these plump fruits have an antioxidant score of 108 when consumed fresh, which is higher than apples or bananas. If you enjoy dehydrated ones, the score lowers to 78, but it’s still higher than raisins or prunes.
3. They May Help Control Your Blood Sugar
When it comes to natural sugar contents, every fruit is different. Their content is measured on a glycemic index, which indicates how high the fruit will raise your blood glucose levels.
According to an article published by The Diabetes Council, this delicious fruit only registers a ten on the glycemic index, which is considered low. Also, the high fiber content they have can help control how much sugar your intestines absorb. It may keep your blood glucose level steady.
4. They May Help You Lose Weight
Are you trying to maintain a healthy diet that includes your daily recommendation for fruit servings? You may consider adding these fruits to your diet. Their high fiber content may help you feel fuller, so you may not eat as much.
Things To Keep In Mind When Buying and Adding Mango to Your Shopping List
Most of these oval fruits have a color blend that includes shades of green, yellow, and red. So, color isn’t a good indication of their ripeness. A fresh ripe one has a slight softness but isn’t mushy. It should have a tantalizing sweet fruity fragrance.
To Peel or Not to Peel
Although eating mango skins won’t harm you, they are tough and don’t have a pleasant flavor. So, peel the ones you get and save the skins for your compost pile. Here’s an easy way to peel and cut them:
•Use a sharp paring knife to peel the fruit carefully.
•Cut off the thick sides from the center and the pit. Dice each side into cubes and place in a bowl. There are usually some juicy bits left on the pit, so scrape them off. Eat your fruit fresh or use them in your favorite recipes.
Three Easy Serving Suggestions and Great Recipes for Enjoying Mango
Once you get a taste of them, you’ll want to try mango in several ways. Fortunately, these tropical fruits are pretty versatile and can be used in sweet or savory dishes. Try these quick and simple suggestions for your next meal.
1. Classic Sweet & Zesty Mango Chutney
Chutney is a versatile dip or topping that is similar to salsa. It can be paired well with chicken or with pita bread.
•2 large fresh mangoes, diced
•1 small red onion, finely
•1/3 cup golden raisins
•1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
•3 large cloves garlic, minced
•2-inch piece fresh ginger root, minced
•3 Tablespoons white vinegar
•¼ teaspoon sea salt
•1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add all ingredients and stir until combined. Cover and cook until fruits and veggies are soft and fragrant, about 30 minutes. Pour into a sealed glass jar and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
2. Island Smoothie
Want to kick up your next dinner party with a tropical theme? Island smoothies are the perfect complement to any barbeque or other dinner creations.
•2 large mangoes, peeled and diced
•1 large banana, peeled and frozen
•1/2 cup almond milk
•½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
In a blender, add all ingredients and puree until velvety smooth. Pour into a glass and serve immediately. You can also elevate this recipe by adding a few of your favorite berries.
3. Tropical Mango Chicken Salad
Who says chicken salad has to be plain? When you add some exciting mango to the mix, it takes it up to a whole new level. Using apples and raisins is so traditional anyway.
•2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
•1 large stalk celery, minced
Small red onion, minced
•1 medium mango, diced
•1 small lime, juiced
•½ cup mayonnaise
•¼ teaspoon kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
•1 teaspoon curry powder
•2-3 drops hot sauce
•1 cup toasted walnuts, diced
•Small bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, minced
•1 medium bunch fresh salad greens
In a large bowl, add all ingredients except the salad greens and stir until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for optimal flavor.
Divide salad evenly among four slices of toasted bread. Top with an equal amount of salad greens. Spread a thin layer of mayo on four more pieces of toasted bread and place on each sandwich. Cut sandwiches diagonally and serve.
For centuries, the colorful orbs known as mangoes have been considered a sacred fruit in their native land of India. They are flavorful and have many health benefits to consider. Perhaps they would be an ideal fruit to add to your healthy meal plans.