Finally spring is on the horizon! The nights are starting to get lighter, the days are somewhat warmer and it’s the time of year when we’re thinking about swapping warm winter casseroles for fresh flavours of spring. Now is the perfect time to start picking up your favourite fruit and veg such as; strawberries, grapefruit, asparagus and baby beets which all join the trusty tropical mango, giving us some delicious flavours to enjoy for snacks or mealtimes.
This month we’ve focused on the mango, covering everything from choosing one, to cutting one, the benefits of eating one and even what food to pair this tropical fruit with. Whatever your mango qualms, we’ve got you covered!
When it comes to choosing the right mango, forget what you’ve been told about a change in colour, it all depends on the feel. Did you know that a ripe mango will give gently when squeezed, similar to an avocado?[i] Once it’s reached the perfect ripeness, you’ll be ready to cut into it and enjoy its delicious flavour.
Trying to cut a mango can be a little bit of a hassle, but once you work your way around the long seed down the centre of the mango, the rest is simple!
1. Using a sharp knife, start by cutting off the mango ‘cheeks’ – holding the mango stem end down on a chopping board, position your knife to one side of the centre stem and slice straight down (if you hit the edge of the seed, remove your knife and rotate 90 degrees!)
2. Turn the mango and slice off the other cheek – leaving two big pieces of juicy mango and a flat seed.
3. To dice the mango, pop one of the mango pieces back on the chopping board and using your knife make long cuts down the length of the mango without slicing through the skin, and repeat the other way to form cubes.
4. Gently press the back of the fruit, using your knife to pry out the sliced cubes from the skin and into the bowl. Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other half of the mango.
Not only are mangoes delicious, they’re nutritious and refreshing too, accompanied with a range of different benefits you may not have even known about. Referred to as the ‘king of fruits’[ii] the mango remains centre stage when it comes to keeping our bodies in tip-top condition.
Not many people know that mangoes are really great for improving digestion.[iii] This is due to the enzymes which the fruit is packed full of, which break down protein. But it doesn’t stop there, the mango is bursting in vitamins A and C,[iv] as well as being a fantastic source of soluble fibre, which again helps with digestion, but also helps to lower cholesterol![v]
So, we already know that the mango is super tasty, but how can we adapt this juicy fruit to accompany our meals?
The best thing about mangoes is they’re not too sweet and can be paired with just about anything! Whether this be a mango and yoghurt smoothie for breakfast, a papaya and mango salad for lunch or a chicken and mango curry for dinner – the versatility of this fruit means that as long as there’s a mango in your fruit bowl, you won’t be short of meal-time inspiration. Check back later this month, for our mango inspired recipe blog which will teach you how to make a number of delicious mango-based dishes, from Embe Zughu, a traditional East-African mango dish to a decadent ginger and mango cheesefake. (A much healthier, but just as tasty version of a cheesecake!)
As with any fruits high in natural sugars, moderation is key to ensuring you don’t over indulge in calories and sugar, however, that’s not to say that mangoes will make you pile on the pounds just try to avoid eating more than 1 a day![vi]
TOP TRICK! Try storing your mangoes in a brown bag for a few days prior to eating. It’s a great trick to ripening those fresh fruits, or if you’re worried they are ripening too quickly, pop them in the fridge overnight![vii]