Cooking with Mango Mangifera indica
The mango IS one of the best fruits in the world, on so many levels! The beautiful sunset colors, the intoxicating aroma, and the exotic flavors - all are found in this captivating fruit. It’s no wonder people are wild about mangos! And Florida mangos are known to be among the best in the world!
Most people in the United States have not had the pleasure of eating a Florida mango, and instead have only eaten the imported mangos purchased at the grocery store. These mangos are required to undergo hot water baths or heat treatments to kill pests and diseases before entering the country, and as a result much of that intense flavor has been lost. Florida mangos are not subjected to any of these importation treatments and are harvested at the peak of full flavor and arrive at the market, or to your home, within days for the best flavor.
Ripe mangos can be used in many, many dishes from savory to sweet, so don't rule out trying green, or unripe mangos. For years people around the world have been using green mangos in chutneys, pickles, and salads and they offer a new quality for you to use in your cooking.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get the most from your Florida mango.
Like many tropical fruits, mangos from Florida are picked from the tree when they are mature, but not yet ripe. The fruits will slowly ripen after picking, either at the market, or on your kitchen counter. Florida mangos can be sent to your door by contacting one of our growers, or through your local grocers. The mangos you will receive will be mature and ready to ripen in your home. If your grocer does not have Florida mangos, be sure to ask for them.
Mangos imported to the United States must undergo special procedures to eliminate any pests or diseases that might be carried in to the country on the fruit. Before packing and shipping, the fruit is dipped in a hot water bath, subjected to hot air treatments, or irradiated to kill pests and diseases. These procedures sometimes result in wrinkled skin, or fruit that is not as flavorful as it could be.
When selecting mangos at the market, look for those fruits that are uniform in firmness, with no soft spots or bruises. Color is not a reliable factor when choosing mangos as mangos can be many hues, or a solid color, so make your decision based on a uniform firmness, and no bad spots.
Unripe, green mangos are delicious when used in pickles and salads. When choosing green mangos, again, choose mangos that do not have any soft spots or bruises. You’ll most likely find green mangos at an Asian grocery, or a specialty market.
Treat mangos as you would a peach. If the mango is quite firm and not yet ripe, let it sit on the kitchen counter to slowly ripen. It may take a few days. You’ll know it is ripe when it gives to gentle pressure and emits a wonderful fragrance. Don’t put your mango in the refrigerator to ripen as this will slow down or stop the ripening process. Once it is ripe, then you can place it in the refrigerator to keep for a few days.
It has been said many times that the best way to eat a mango is over the kitchen sink! We agree!
Here are a few of the many ways to cut a mango.
· Take a slice off each “cheek” or side of the mango by slicing from the stem end to the pointed end cutting as close as possible to the large, flat single seed inside. Once each cheek is removed, make cross cuts through the flesh down to the peel, turn the cheek inside out, and slice off the blocks of mango fruit close to the peel.
· You can also make a cut down to the seed around the equator of the mango, and twist each half off. Cut out the seed and spoon out the flesh.
· Another method is to make wedges by cutting from the stem end to the pointed end down to the seed, like cutting a watermelon from end to end. Once you hit the seed, jiggle the knife sideways to remove the wedge.
Remember, do NOT store an UNRIPE mango in the refrigerator, as it will not ripen properly, if at all, after you remove it. Let the mango ripen on the counter first. Once ripe, you can store it peeled or unpeeled in a plastic bag or container in the refrigerator for several days.
Mangos also freeze very well and maintain that delicious flavor but the texture will change. To freeze mango, peel and cube mangos, place in plastic bag or container (try to remove as much air as possible to reduce freezer burn), and your fruit will keep for around a year.
Counts and Weights
An average size Florida mango yields approximately 2-2 ½ cups of diced fruit.
One cup (165 g.) of mango pieces contains:
.5 g. fat
1 g. protein
25 g. carbohydrate
3 g. fiber
1,751 IU Vitamin A
Source: USDA NDB Number: 45212759
Any recipe that uses a peach will taste just as good with a mango!
Try mangos in these ways:
· Ice cream or sorbet
· Taco ingredients
You can find many recipes for mangos and they are all so tasty! Here are a few to consider.
Mango Pie with Crumb Topping
Carrie Burr & Kathy Magee of Burr’s Berry Farm: Local Flavors, Recipes Raised in the Florida Redland
3 c. ripe mango, cubed
3 T. fresh lime juice
¼ c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 unbaked pie shell
½ c. butter (1 stick), cut into 1” pieces
1 c. flour
½ c. granulated sugar
½ brown light brown sugar, packed
1 t. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place mango cubes into large bowl. Add lime juice and stir. Combine the ¼ c. sugar and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Stir into the mango mixture. Spoon mixture into pie shell.
In another bowl, combine the topping ingredients and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork. The topping should be crumbly with the butter evenly distributed. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the mango and sprinkle with extra cinnamon and sugar, if desired.
Bake until the topping is golden brown (about 45 minutes). Cool slightly abd serve with vanilla ice cream.
Mango Sauce for Meats
UF/IFAS Extension Service, Extension Family and Consumer Science (FCS), Local Flavors, Recipes Raised in the Florida Redland
1 large mango
1 T. frozen pineapple juice concentrate
1 T. frozen orange juice concentrate
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
½ t. Hunan chili black bean paste
1-2 garlic gloves
Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour into microwave dish and microwave in High for 1 ½ - 2 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.
Green Mango Pie
Tropical Fruit Cookbook, Caloosa Rare Fruit Exchange, Inc.
4 large green mangos
1 c. sugar
½ t. cinnamon
2 eggs, separated
1 T. butter
1 baked pie crust
1 T. sugar
½ t. cream of tartar
½ t. vanilla
Peel and slice, or grate mangos. IN a saucepan, combine the mangos, sugar, cinnamon, egg yolks, and butter; cook over medium heat, stirring until thick; cool; pour into crust.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; add cream of tartar and vanilla; blend; continue beating and gradually add 1 T. sugar until stiff peaks form.
Spoon egg white mixture over pie; place in 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes to lightly brown meringue.