My husband and his father manage a wholesale produce distributor in the Cleveland Produce Terminal. Soon, I will tell you more about their company’s interesting century-old history. For today I want to share with you these gorgeous mangos he brought home for us. My girls actually place orders with him for various fruits and vegetables from his market. Mangos are always near the top of their list, and mine. I wanted to devour them the minute they came through my door, but I’ve learned with mangos that it is important to wait until just the right moment to cut into them, or else you’ll regret it. If you cut it too soon, the mango will be sour and hard. If you wait even just a day too long, it will be mushy and stringy. I was watching these mangos like a hawk, giving them each a gentle little squeeze every time I walked by the fruit bowl on the counter, my mouth watering in anticipation. This morning, they were finally ready! Today I used the mango to make a yogurt parfait that is perfect for breakfast, an afternoon snack or even for dessert. With 18 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and only 225 calories, it packs a punch. Keep reading for my recipe. It’s so simple, I’m not even sure I can call it that. First, let’s go back to the basics and let me share what I’ve learned about mangos from being married to a man who buys and sells truckloads of them for a living. I’ve also done a little research to satisfy my curiosity about one of our favorite fruits.
Mangos are grown on trees in tropical climates. In the Unites States, they are only able to grow in the very southern parts of California and Florida. Therefore, the mangos found in U.S. stores are grown primarily in Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala and Peru. The fruit is harvested by hand. Fortunately for us, these countries harvest their mango crops at different times of the year, which means we get to enjoy mangos all year round. The mango year has two seasons, one in the spring/summer and one in the fall/winter. The two seasons overlap to provide a year-round supply.
I like to eat local produce whenever possible, so I can’t help but wonder about the environmental consequences of eating fruits that have to be transported from far away places. According to the National Mango Board, researchers studying both the greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon uptake (sequestration) of a typical mango tree, found that the average mango tree could sequester up to seven times the carbon that is emitted during growing, harvesting and transportation to the U.S. retailer. That means you can enjoy that delicious, nutritious mango guilt free. Hallelujah!
How to Choose a Mango
Most mangos in the grocery store will be hard as rocks. That’s ok if you don’t plan to use them the same day you buy them. If they are hard, they will typically need at least a few days at room temperature before they are ripe. If a mango you pick up in the store has any “give” when squeezed, do not purchase it unless you plan to use it the same day or maybe the day after. A mango’s color is not a sign of ripeness but has to do with how much sun each particular fruit receives on the tree. In certain varieties, the mangos that receive the most sunlight will develop a red blush at the stem end. This red blush is not an indicator of maturity, quality or ripeness.
How to Ripen and Store a Mango
If the mango is still hard or very firm, place it on your counter to ripen. Do not place an unripe mango in the refrigerator. Give it a gentle squeeze once a day… or several times a day if you can’t wait to eat it like me. A perfectly ripe mango will give just the slightest bit. If you are able to feel your fingers squish into it (that is a technical term), it may already be over-ripe. Cut it up and eat it immediately. Or I sometimes cut up an over-ripe mango and freeze it to eat as dessert, to put in smoothies or to top ice cream or yogurt. Frozen mango makes for a great craving decoy.
How to Cut a Mango
To properly cut a mango, turn it upside down, with the stem touching the cutting board. If you envision the mango in three vertical sections, the seed or “stone” runs through the middle section rendering that portion virtually unusable. Cutting straight down (right or left of center) you will cut off the two outer sections, sometimes called the “cheeks”. Throw the center section away (or on your compost pile.) These days, you can also buy a mango cutter. While this tool can cut in a curved shape to get closer to the stone giving you more fruit to eat, I have found that sometimes it also cuts part of the stone off with it. I typically use a good old-fashioned knife so I have more control.
Once you have removed the stone, taking one cheek at a time, you can dice the mango right inside the skin which makes for easy clean up. I hold the mango in the palm of my hand while I do this. With the tip of your knife, first cut a few vertical lines straight up and down without cutting through the skin. Then cut a few horizontal lines across. Then run your knife all around the outside of the flesh and then underneath the squares of mango. You can the dump the mango right into your dish.
A cup of mango provides 100 percent of a day’s vitamin C, one-third of a day’s vitamin A, a decent dose of blood-pressure lowering potassium and 3 grams of fiber. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, it is also one of the fruits least likely to have pesticide residues.
Here’s the yummy parfait I made for breakfast. Well, then it actually turned into John’s breakfast. He swiped it after I had just a few bites. He virtually licked the bowl clean. While I was disappointed I didn’t get to eat it all up myself, I am happy my boy likes to eat such nutritious food.
Mango Greek Yogurt Parfait
- One 5 to 6 oz. container of nonfat, plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. I use Stonyfield Organic Nonfat Greek. Andy likes Fage 0% Plain Greek.
- 1 diced mango
- 2 tablespoons raw almond slices
- Drizzle of honey (optional)
Place yogurt in bowl. Top with diced mango. Sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with honey.
Here are the Nutritional Facts for those of you counting calories. I track what I eat with the My Fitness Pal app. It is free and it is an invaluable tool that was key in helping me lose weight after having John and for maintaining my weight today. Not going to lie, it is a constant battle.
Fat: 7.3 grams (Saturated 0, Polyunsaturated 0, Monounsaturated .3, Trans 0)
Visit http://www.mango.org for more information about mangos.