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!


Lynn Barry said...

What a gorgeous pic! I will give mangoes another try. The first time I kept trying to decide if I liked the taste, kind of peachy but not peachy...what I should have done is not compare it to anything else. Thanks, Mike!

Mike Eberhart said...

Lynn, thanks. I hope that trying mango anew is met with success - and, starting with the Champagne Mango, you stand a good chance of enjoyment. I find the fruit to perhaps be a bit peachy, but a bit more fragrant and firmer, and perhaps undertones of citrus or even ever so slightly hints of pine or something. One way or the other, I find them quite nice and enjoyable.

Nat said...

If you ever get a chance, try a mango right from the tree in some magical tropical place.
Eat it while it's still slightly warm from the sun. The best place to eat it is in the pool, or in the bath - it makes cleaning up easier.

The only draw back to this is that no mango from a supermarket or anywhere that isn't tropical will ever properly satisfy again.

Isle Dance said...

I'm now feeling slightly guilty for allowing a few of these go to waste just because I had no idea what to do with them. Thanks for the lesson!

Mike Eberhart said...

Isle - I've certainly had some fruit that I didn't know what to do with... like Papaya. I actually recently bought one and finally made sure to try it (I didn't care for it at all). But, the Mangos are certainly worth trying next time you have one.

Nat - I would certainly love to experience that fresh from the tree mango. Just reading your comments had me dreaming of that tropical place and enjoying the succulent sweet perfect mango (and, of course the tropical paradise in general). Someday... someday.

Fab Grandma said...

I love mangos! they are so delicious. One of my favorite ways to eat them is sliced fresh into a tossed salad instead of tomatoes. They give the salad a fresh zippy flavor. We also like them with ice cream for dessert.

Mike Eberhart said...

fab - thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the great mango ideas! It never crossed my mind to try them in a salad, but I'll bet they could be quite a nice addition. And, ice cream: mmmmmmm!

A&D said...

I didn't know that mangoes are the most consumed fruit in the world! I would have thought apples or bananas would fit that bill!

Very interesting blog - a friend sent the link to me. Thanks for the info. I look forward to trying some recipes!



Anonymous said...

Just a word of caution...indian curries, sauces, pickles have a spice, asafoetida (hing) which is typically not in it's pure form and has wheat flour added to it since the spice is too intense in it's pristine state. You would not find out since the asafoetida would not be spelled out (it would be under 'spices')...

Mike Eberhart said...

Thanks for that input on the Indian curries. I was not aware of asafoetida, or the fact it would contain wheat.

I used to eat those curried mango "pickle" sauces (typically bottled types I purchases at our local Indian Grocer), but really haven't had them since going gluten-free. I try to approach most things with a bit of paranoia, just in case there is something I should not consume hidden inside of terms like "spices", etc.

Thank you again for this valuable input! I will definitely beware. I have found some certified gluten-free curries (although not the pickled mango yet). I really look forward to the day where all product labeling is clear and this job of finding gluten-free diet safe foods becomes easier.

Anonymous said...

I've been eating mangos alot lately since knowing I was CD. I just asummed they were safe because I felt fine after eating them. But as I have read Papaya is much better for the Celiac to eat because of the enzymes are good for the digestive tract to aid in breaking down proteins in foods. In fact sometime when I've accidently eaten something that I know I've had a reaction to I'll eat a whole Papaya and it really speeds up the healing time along with a Benadryl from around a week to just a day or two. A word to the wise!!! You can make a nice smoothie with these fruits with a good protein powder. I've been using a soy protein powder. Does any other CD folks know if soy is fine for the CD'r???? I'm still learning.
Mango, banana, organic raw honey, ice, water,
Mango, Papaya, blueberries, ice, water,
Kefir probiotics, blueberries, Papaya, ice,,,,
the choices are endless....
I'd love to hear some of your recipes
melina miller

Mike Eberhart said...

Yes, Soy is definitely gluten-free in its pure form. You just need to make sure that any product (e.g., soy milk, tofu, etc) is certified GF because there could always be other additives that contain gluten in any particular product. Also, Soy-Sauce is generally using WHEAT, so be sure to look for wheat-free, gluten-free soy-sauce (aka, GF Tamari).

I've always enjoyed mangoes a lot, but have never been much for papaya. But, I do eat some papaya enzyme-capsules on occasion, as I agree: they can be nice for digestive tract along with probiotics.

Thanks for stopping by.