Mango is known as the ‘king of fruits.’ It is a most popular fruit rich in nutrients, fragrance, flavour, taste and health enhancing qualities. It is thus billed to be a ‘super fruit’.
The scientific c name for mango is Mangifera indica. It is a seasonal tropical fruit, which has its origins in the Indian subcontinent 5000 years back. It belongs to the species of other tropical fruit trees like cashews, pistachios etc.
Here are some curious facts about this most delicious and healthy fruit:
- Originating in India, Mango seeds were carried by humans to South America, East Africa and Middle East from around 300 to 400 AD.
- Fruit gift baskets of mangos are a gesture of friendship in India.
- According to Buddhist lore, Lord Buddha meditated under the cool shade of a mango tree.
- A mango tree can grow up to 100 feet.
- All parts of the mango, from skin, leaves, pith and bark have been used in folk medicine since centuries.
- A mango is very rich in nutrients. One cup serving amounts to 100 calories; this provides 100% of your daily dose of Vitamin C, 35% of Vitamin A and 12% of fibre. It is free of fat and cholesterol.
- Avoid judging a mango by its colour: red does not usually mean it is ripe.
- To judge ripeness, squeeze gently. A ripe mango will give in slightly. A firm mango will ripen in a few days at room temperature. Wrap it in a paper bag to hasten ripening. Once ripe it can be refrigerated for fresh use.
- Mangos are served as ripe slices in street food across many countries. They have natural property for tenderizing, making them perfect for marinades.
- Mango is very versatile: It can be used in form of puddings, ice cream, smoothies, chutneys, pickles, in desserts and salads, etc.
- Mango comes in different shapes and sizes depending on cultivars. Its internal mesocarp is orange yellow in colour and juicy in texture, with a kidney shaped seed. Its taste is mild sweet with little tartness.
- The best way to select mangos is by avoiding those with cuts and bruises and having a pleasant fragrance.
- Mango fruit can be enjoyed naturally without adding flavours or spices.
- Mango must be avoided by patients undergoing Warfarin therapy. Its vitamin A content results in increased risk of bleeding.
- Some sensitive people may have Mango Latex allergy. This is because of the anacardic acid found in unripe, raw mangos. One must take care while assembling fruit baskets for a sickly relative or friend.
- Nearly half the production of mangos is in India. However, it accounts for less than 1 percent of the international mango trade as bulk of its mangos are consumed domestically.
- Some mango trees give fruits for over 300 years.
- Hanging fresh leaves of mango tree at the entrance to homes is considered auspicious as part of Hindu festival celebrations in India. Some Hindus also brush their teeth with mango twigs on holy days.
- Burning of mango wood, debris and leaves is harmful to health as it is found to release toxic fumes, which irritate the lungs and eyes.
These are some fun facts about mangos.