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Mangoes


Mangoes

Varieties

Today there are over 140 varieties of mangoes, but the Madame Francis mango, which you will receive in your produce box this week, is unique to Haiti. Similar to a large Ataulfo mango, the Madame Francis mango goes from green to deep golden yellow, when it ripens. The pit is small and flat, so most of the weight is in the creamy, virtually fibreless, fruit. Many 'Foodies' consider the Madame Francis the best tasting mango in the world.

Madame Francis mangoes grow naturally on Haiti's steep hillsides, as well as on small farms, around homes, footpaths and canals. While the Madame Francis mango is Haiti's largest agricultural export, the average mango farmer has only 13 trees.

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Storage

Mangoes should be stored in a dry place at temperatures between 55F and 65F. Don't worry if your mango has a few black spots on it. Tony "The Fresh Grocer" Tantillo looks for those with spots because it is an indication that the natural sugar content is higher.

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Origins and Culture

Cultivation and domestication of mangoes probably began in the Indian subcontinent, where they have been grown for more than 4000 years. Buddhist monks took mango plants on voyages to Malaya and eastern Asia in the 4th and 5th centuries BC. By the tenth century AD, Persian traders had taken the mango to the Middle East and East Africa. With the arrival of the Portuguese in India in the 15th century, it was later spread to South America, the Philippines and to West Africa. Mangos are now cultivated commercially throughout most tropical and subtropical areas of the globe.

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Nutritional and Medicinal Properties

The average 7-oz mango contains 90% of recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, 75% for betacarotene, 24% for vitamin E, and is a good source of fibre.

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Basic Cooking Instructions

Mangoes are tasty eaten fresh or in salads, shakes, breads, puddings, ice cream, stir-fries, condiments and chutneys. Mangoes can be a messy fruit to eat. But the reward is well worth the work and the mess. The "pop up" method is a good way to cut mangoes. Place the mango, narrow side facing you, on a cutting board. Slice through the mango as close to the pit as possible on each side. You now have two slices and the pit surrounded by flesh. Put the slices, skin side down, on the cutting board, and make horizontal and vertical slices, being careful not to pierce the skin. Hold the slices in your hand and pop up the fruit by turning the skin inside out. You can eat the cubes or put them in a fruit salad. Also, be sure to cut away any flesh on the pit.

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