Mango is a fruit which belongs to the plant family Anacardiaceae. They are tropical fruiting trees which are mostly cultivated for edible fruits. The mangoes originated in South and Southeast Asia and were later adopted by the neighboring regions. With time it became one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropical regions.Major contributions to the production of mangoes are given by regions like Sumatra, Borneo and counties like Burma and India. Other than being the king of fruits, mango is the national fruit of Indian and the Philippines and the national tree of Bangladesh. Mangoes come in different varieties depends upon the method in which it is cultivated plus the weather conditions. In some cultures the fruit and leaves of this plant is used as decorations for wedding and other public and religious ceremonies.
Cultivation of mangoes have been taking place in Southeast Asia for thousands of years but the knowledge regarding its cultivation reached East Asia by the 5th century only. In East Africa mangoes were introduced after the 10th century. Mangoes later travelled to regions like West Indies Brazil and Mexico where appropriate climate contributed to its growth. Cultivation of mangoes can only be possible in a frost free tropical climate. Today almost half of the production in the world market is done by India with china being the second largest producer. Other regions such as Australia, Pakistan, north and Central America also account for the production of this fruit. Such as the Canary Islands in Spain is also a notable producer of this fruit. Though India is the largest producer, study sates that it accounts for only 1 percent in the international trade market for mangoes as it most of its produce is consumed domestically.
Over the years so many different ways have been introduced for consumption of mangoes in the form of chutneys, pickles and milkshakes. In many households, mango pulp is used to make jellies and a special jam called mangada. The pulp is also is cooked with red gram and served with rice. In Andhra Pradesh mangoes are used to prepare dal while in Gujarati cuisines, mangoes are used to make chunda which is a grated mango dish. In many countries mangoes are used to prepare smoothies and ice creams where the mango nectar is used as a major flavouring and colouring agent. In Central America people consume green mangoes with salt, lime and black pepper along with a hot sauce. Traditionally roasted pumpkin seed along with chilli or soya sauce is eaten together with green mangoes. In Southeast Asia slices of mangoes are put over ice creams. It is also served as a desert with a special kind of rice cooked with coconut. Green mangoes are used as salads and served with fish sauce, rice vinegar and dried shrimp.
Mangoes are considered to be very beneficial for health as they are full of anti-oxidants which help in fighting different types of cancer such as breast, prostate and colon cancer. These anti oxidants also help in preventing leukemia and help in cell rejuvenation and repair. Acne is reduces as it helps in detoxifying the skin from inside. Mangoes are huge storehouses of vitamin A and C. vitamin A as we all know helps protect the eyesight and is responsible for endowing a glowing skin and maintaining a great complexion while vitamin C is responsible for boosting immunity. The acidic content of vitamin C is further accompanied with acids like malic and tartaric acid which helps in maintaining the alkaline balance of the body. The thread like texture of the fruit is because of its high fibre content. Fibre further helps in lowering cholesterol levels in the body thereby playing a huge role in preventing diabetes. The skin of this fruit is a popular de-tanner and is extensively used as a part of many beauty regimes, including reduction of dark spots, acne, cleansing, exfoliation etc. The best part is, being a natural product it is safe to use across all skin types and is foolproof solution for fair smooth skin. Mangoes are also beneficial for the hair being an oasis of vitamins and minerals that nourish and encourage hair growth. As a part of many home remedies, mangoes are used as conditioners, for treating dandruff and reducing hair loss and graying of hair.
To avail all these benefits, it is important that we, as consumers, select and store the fruit judiciously. Ofcource, the rules for selection remain the same; clean no marks on the external body and so on. But more importantly, mangoes with good aroma should be selected. Unripe mangoes are green in colour while ripe mangoes may have different colour like yellow, orange or red but one thing should be noted that the colour must not be seen as a basis for deciding the maturity of the fruit because there are some varieties of mangoes which retain their green colour even when they ripe. Once the mangoes are purchased care should be taken regarding the storage of this fruit which varies depending upon the variety of the mango. In order to ensure that mangoes remain fresh we can store them in the refrigerator. Freezing them may result in the blackening of their outer skin but the inside remains fresh. In case they are green in colour then they should be stored in a brown paper bag away from sunlight for a few days till they ripen.