Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Enjoying Mango Perfection
Mangos are one of my all time favorite fruits - and, being the number one consumed fruit in the world, I am certainly not alone in my appreciation of mangos. I just love this juicy aromatic yellow fruit, whether fresh (best and preferred) or frozen (also quite nice, convenient, and more affordable). Of course, mango is a gluten-free fruit, and one more wonderful dietary safe-item to keep around in the Celiac household.
There are a few different varieties as well, and my favorite are the "Champagne" ones, which are a smaller golden yellow fruit (part of one pictured in the foreground above that has not fully ripened), that from my personal experience have been most consistently wonderful and nearly perfect in flavor and smooth texture. This variety is free from the fibers that appear in some of the flesh of other mango varieties too, which is a definite plus. Once ripe (their skin will actually be very slightly wrinkled and deep yellow), the texture of a Champagne mango is incredibly smooth and the flavor is very sweet. They are mango perfection! (I meant to take a picture of a ripe fruit I had, but I was in a mango mood and just didn't want to wait)
The larger mangos (like the one pictured in the background) are quite nice too, but I have seen more variation in them and have found some that have been very good, and others that have been less than acceptable. The larger variety has a much larger "hairy" seed in it than the smaller "Champagne" variety, but you'll still probably get more fruit off of a large standard mango than a smaller Champagne mango. And, the closer you get to consuming the flesh near the seed, the more fibrous your fruit will become.
I don't particulary mind the fibers near the middle, but it takes a bit of getting used to. And, if you ever see a mango pit that has been cleaned off and let stand outside for a few days, it darn near looks like a mouse because it is so "hairy" with fibers. My wife and I have joked around about how we should collect the pits, let them sit outdoors til they get this "mouse look", and then glue some fake eyeballs and a tail onto them and sell them as silly prank "mice". :)
Though quite a bit different from anything you're probably used to, Mango is also quite interesting in its preserved or pickled form - especially the way Indian varieties of pickled Mango are done with a hot and spicy pickle/sauce (you can get it in a jar at Indian groceries). There is quite a bit of variation in flavor between brands, and it may take a few tries to get one you like - I have had ones that were great, and others that were too strong on the Lime or some other spice or flavor. I used to eat such Indian picked-mango over rice, and loved it - though, I have not had it in years (since going gluten-free) since I have yet to encounter a brand that is clearly labeled gluten-free or does not make me wonder what else is in it that may not be identified on the ingredient list, since it is nearly all sourced from overseas (India region) where ingredient disclosure seems a bit laxed (much like imported Asian foods, where I can clearly see ingredients in a food product that are not even on the ingredient-list).
If you have not tried a mango in a while, or tried one in the past and didn't care for it (which I did many years ago), give it another chance. I am so glad I "re-discovered" mango after going gluten-free, especially those Champagne ones - I definitely would recommend trying one of those first, and if you don't like them, chance are you won't appreciate any mangos. And, if you already like mango,... well, you know what to do!