Talk about mangos’ origins.
Mangos originated about 5,000 years ago
in the Indo/Burma region, which extends
from Eastern India and Southern China
across Southeast Asia. Cultivation history
goes back to India more than 4,000 years
ago, and it was not until the 14th century
that mangos where eaten anywhere
outside the region. The Age of Discovery
(global exploration) helped bring mangos
throughout the entire tropical world in the
1600s. In fact, the mango is the most-consumed fruit in the world.
How and where do
Mango trees are evergreens, part of the
cashew family. Mangos generally grow
in tropical and subtropical climates
throughout world. The fruit is seasonal.
From first blush of flowers to mature fruit
ready for picking is about six months.
What about varieties?
There are hundreds of mango varieties,
both naturally occurring and through
hybrid techniques. Size and shape and
color all vary within the varieties, which
is one of the characteristics that set them
apart. The amazing thing about mangos
is that there is a mango for every taste,
but flavor is a personal preference.
The varieties most commonly sold in
the U.S.—Ataulfo, Francis, Haden,
Keitt, Kent and Tommy Atkins—have
a tropical fruity balance with a sweet-and-sour, refreshing appeal. Some of the
less-traveled mangos have deep, mature
flavors and exotic aromas.
What’s the appeal of
mangos for chefs?
Both mature green and sweet ripe mangos
can be used, and a chef can control the
flavor, acidity and texture of the fruit
as an ingredient. This versatility makes
cooking with mangos intellectually
challenging, fun and delicious. Diners
always love new flavors, and many are
discovering the flavor notes and lush
mouthfeel of mango.
What do you like about
cooking with them?
Using mangos in my cooking is great
fun, and I use them in many different
ways—to add ethnic spice to a dish, for
the refreshing tropical flavor, for great
color, and sometimes I use mature green
mangos for a crunchy tropical element.
Mangos are versatile.
How does a new menu item
with mango come about?
It starts with mango inspiration. See it,
feel it, smell it, taste it and think about
the lingering flavors. Now you can begin
Talk about nutritional
Mango is a fruit, and we all know how
important it is to include more plant-based ingredients in our cooking and
our diets. Generally, a cup of mango
has about 100 calories. It’s an excellent
source of vitamins A and C and a good
source of fiber. Sugar content depends on
ripeness and variety.
Do you have a favorite dish
made with mangos?
Too many to share, but one that comes
to mind is mango ceviche with lime, red
onion, cilantro, jalapeño, coconut milk
and aji amarillo.
What other tropical fruits do
I enjoy guava, passion fruit, carambola,
papaya and mamey.
leT’s TalK To alleN susser
abouT … mangos
Why are tropical flavors
Using tropical fruits can take diners on
a magical flavor journey to an exotic
destination. For a chef, using ingredients
such as tropical fruits is refreshing and
rewarding, and you will be surprised at
how many people will appreciate your
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le T’s TalK abouT … mangos