Mad for mango
Exotic stone fruit goes mainstream
By Marcy Goldman
ONE USED TO have to travel far and wide to
find mangoes for cooking, baking or simply
enjoying as a snack. Now, mangoes are as easy
to find as apples or bananas. In fact, according
to Gary Clevenger, co-owner of Freska Produce,
a leader in mango sourcing and supply, mango
consumption has tripled in the last 10 years.
There are hundreds of varieties, but dominant ones (at least in the consumer market)
include Tommy Atkins, Haden, Ataulfo, Keitt
and Kent. Mango varieties vary in shape and
size (kidney-shaped or round), with subtle
taste differences: sweet or more acidic, floral or
more plum- or peach-like.
Mangoes also come in different textures,
ranging from slippery and smooth to fibrous.
The very bouquet of a freshly sliced mango is
seductive; its heady, exotic perfume is a cross
between pineapple, plums and peaches. The
skin of the mango is very bitter and is not
eaten, but the meat, when optimally ripe, is a
sensuous, ambrosial treat that tastes almost
too good to be healthy.
But healthy it most certainly is. One cup
of diced mango tallies in at only 100 calories,
provides 100 percent of the recommended
daily amount of vitamin C, a whopping 35
percent of vitamin A (a nice alternative to
carrot sticks) and a surprising 12 percent of
daily fiber, along with B6 and cardio-benefi-cial folic acid, or B9. Just be aware that if you’re
watching your sugar intake, a half cup has
about 11 grams of sugar.
Although mangoes grow wild and prolific on trees, they are cultivated for commercial sale in most tropical climates—including
Mexico, Central and South America,
Australia, Florida and California. There are
two growing seasons, but you can find mangoes year-round.
Picking and prepping
Mangoes continue to ripen (and sweeten)
if left on the counter, stem side down. But
don’t rely on skin color to tell if it’s ready; an
all-green mango is not an indication of ripeness. Instead, go by the press test: Squeeze or
press it gently. If it gives and seems soft, it’s good
When it comes to cutting a fresh mango,
some technique is in order. First, position the
mango on a cutting surface. Mangoes contain a
wide, flat seed. Figure out which direction this
seed is going within the fruit (you may need to
make a shallow cut at the stem to determine
this) and cut parallel to it. Do this on either side
of the mango, which will leave you with two
halves (be sure to cut off any mango
still left on the seed). Cut a checkerboard pattern into the mango
halves, not breaking the skin,
and use a large spoon to scoop
out the pieces, or flip it
inside out and slice.
If you’re eating fresh
mango, try dusting it with
salt, lime juice or chili powder.
Or, toss mangoes in salads, shakes or
smoothies. Dried mango makes a great filling
for cookies or bars. Mangoes also marry well
with other fruits and soar in savory dishes,
The Costco Connection
Look for fresh and dried mango at your
local Costco warehouse.
1 mango, peeled and sliced
1 head leaf lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped
into bite-size pieces
½ pound fresh strawberries
½ pound fresh blueberries
1 cup cherry tomatoes
½ cup fresh grapes
1 medium avocado, cut in bite-size pieces
¼ cup chopped toasted slivered almonds
¼ cup chopped red onion
4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled into bits
Your favorite dressing
In a large salad bowl, toss together mango slices,
lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, grapes,
avocado, almonds and onion.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the
flavors blend. Do not leave in the refrigerator
for more than 3 hours.
Sprinkle with bacon. Serve with dressing to taste.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
From Enjoy Cooking The Costco Way (go to Costco.com and
click “Recipes The Costco Way” at the bottom of the page)
such as chicken, fish or seafood. Given the
regions mangoes are grown in, it’s not surprising that mango cuisine is culturally broad and
rife with spices, herbs and other ingredients
(e.g., tamarind, limes, coconut, etc.).
Bite for buck, you’d be hard-pressed to
find a more exotic-tasting, broadly appealing,
versatile fruit to brighten your snack times as
well as your cooking or baking, than marvelous mangoes. Next time you’re thinking
orange, apple or banana, perk up your palate
and choose the fruit less taken—go mango.
What a difference this simple tropical fruit
can make. C
Marcy Goldman is a master baker and host
of betterbaking.com. Her recent cookbook is
The Baker’s Four Seasons (River Heart
Press, 2014; not available at Costco.).
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