Mango – King of Fruits

Ripe Champagne Mango

I searched all Summer for great mangoes in Seattle, and I have to say they were hard to find. Read on for information on finding mangoes in Seattle, Indian mangoes in New York City, mangoes in India, serving suggestions, and finally some nutrition information.

Mangoes in Seattle
The best mangoes I found were the “champagne” variety, with the best among them at Pike Place Market and seasonal produce stands like Top Banana in Ballard. Champagne mangoes are sweeter and have fewer fibers than most Mexican mangoes. A prime example is pictured above.

Indian Mangoes in New York City
Indian mangoes are still far better than these, however. In New York City, Indian mangoes are expensive but are now supposed to be available, in season, like at Patel Brothers. Indian mangoes arrived in the United States this past May, 2007 for the first time in 18 years, but I wonder if they all arrived on the East Coast and never left!

We saw a YouTube video of 2 greedy Indian brothers who somehow got their hands on boxes and boxes of Indian mangoes, when they first arrived in the U.S. in the middle of the night in New York City — so, who are these people and why has this been video since been taken down?? Are they hogging all the Indian mangoes? I think so!

Check this out: well-reputed restaurants like Tabla in NYC here – stocking up on Indian mangoes (look at the stacks he’s got!). In that post, they are rightly called the “Mango Mafia.” If this “Mango Mafia” continues, how will other Americans or Indian-Americans get their hands on them? It isn’t fair! The U.S. and Indian governments need to step in, and make sure these divine fruits go straight to local grocery stores and markets like Wegmans, Safeway, Giant, QFC, et al., for everyone to enjoy! If Indian mangoes are only available to a few wealthy (greedy) people eating in fine restaurants, their popularity and shipments will not increase as they should.

Mangoes in India
If you are in India, it’s a completely different story. There mangoes come straight from your grandfather’s or aunt’s farm, or perhaps you picked them yourself from a local tree :) India, the homeland of mangoes & Mango Power Girl, produces half of the world’s mangoes. There are varieties you can’t imagine, more than 1,000 of them!

The peak of mango season in India is May, and the season lasts from March to August, depending on the region and variety. During those months Indians eat mango in every form. The best way is just by itself, or as a side dish to the meal. Other popular ways include freshly squeezed mango pulp, lassis, shakes, ice creams, raw mango pickles, chutneys, spices, and the list goes on!

My favorite variety growing up in India was Alphonso mango, which originally came from the region I grew up in, Gujarat and the neighboring state of Maharashtra. Alphonso is the variety reportedly now available in the U.S., although again I have not yet found it in Seattle.

Serving Suggestions
I make the most of my mangoes by serving them with complementary fruits, by topping vanilla ice cream (my favorite combination!), or by making a mango shake. Mangoes are best matched with strawberry, kiwi, peach, and pineapple. You can also just cube and eat!

If you feel ambitious and would love a rich mango dessert, try out my fellow blogger, Applemint’s Mango Phirni. For our household a nice orange Mango Pie will be next!

For now, I’ll be cubing and freezing as many mangoes as I can get for Winter :) Here is some of my frozen crop … It was hard not to eat all of it fresh, but when I think about how much I’ll pay for Trader Joe’s frozen mangoes in Winter, it’s easy to freeze :-P

My Frozen Mangoes

Mangoes not only taste great, they are great for your health.

Ripe mangoes have enzymes that aid digestion. For this reason, Indians tend to eat mangoes along with a meal, and use dried mango powder as a protein tenderizer and spice blend.

As you may have guessed from their bold color, mangoes are rich in antioxidants and anticardiovascular properties. They are high in iron, beta carotene, magnesium, and potassium. Mangoes top the list of foods recently discovered to fight some cancers. Finally, mangoes are considered perfect food for pregnant women, kids, and just about everyone!

Enjoy mangoes and feel good about it, too!