Mango, or "mangga" in Filipino, is a beloved tropical fruit in the Philippines. The most popular variety grown in the country is the Carabao mango, also known as the Manila mango. This kidney-shaped fruit is renowned for its exceptional sweetness and juiciness. Its flesh is buttery and smooth, almost fiber-free.
The Ataulfo mango, also known as Champagne or Honey mango, is the closest variety to the Manila mango. Like the Philippine variety, it is sweet and nearly stringless. Both mangoes have a higher flesh-to-seed ratio and thinner, smaller seeds than other mangoes.
Originally introduced from the Philippines, the Ataulfo mango is a cultivar grown in Mexico. The oblong-shaped fruit has golden skin and a slightly curved appearance. It has gained popularity in the United States, where it is the second-most sold variety of mango after the Tommy Atkins.
Mangoes come in many varieties depending on their specific cultivar and the time of year. Some of the most popular types of mangoes in the US include:
- Ataulfo: Bright yellow mango with sweet and fiberless flesh, making it ideal for snacking, desserts, and drinks. It is usually in season from March to July and is primarily grown in Mexico.
- Tommy Atkins: The most common variety found in US supermarkets. It has green and red skin and a fibrous texture. While not the sweetest, it has a mild, pleasant taste and is available year-round. It is ideal for chopping up and using salads and salsas.
- Kent: Dark green and yellow-skinned mango with some red blush known for its juicy, sweet, and slightly acidic flavor. It is grown mainly in Florida and is available in late winter and summer. It is great for snacking, juicing, and desserts.
- Keitt: One of the largest varieties with green skin even when fully ripe. It is tangy and sweet with minimal fibers. It's perfect for salads, salsas, snacking, or pickling when the fruit is still firm. You can typically find it in the late summer and early fall.
- Haden: When ripe, this mango is red-orange with a sweet, creamy, and smooth flesh. It is great for eating out-of-hand, salads, desserts, and smoothies. It is generally available from March to May.
- Francis: Oblong in shape with green skin that turns yellow as it ripens. It has a golden yellow flesh that is sweet and juicy. Its stringy texture makes it an excellent option for blending or puréeing. You can find it in season during May and June.
What are the health benefits of mango?
Mango is a nutrient-dense fruit low in calories but high in vitamin C, folate, and various B vitamins. It contains antioxidants, such as mangiferin and polyphenols, which protect the body against oxidative stress.
The fruit is a good source of magnesium, potassium, and dietary fiber, which support heart health and digestion. Its lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin A content promote eye health. Studies suggest that mango polyphenols may help fight cancer by preventing oxidative damage.
Mangoes are packed with health benefits. A cup of sliced mango has around 165 calories and provides almost 70% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, aiding in iron absorption, cellular protection, and immune system support. While delicious, mango is high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
How to cut a mango
There are several methods you can use to cut a mango. You can always use a knife or a vegetable peeler to peel the mango and cut around the seed, but this can be messy.
One easy way is to hold the mango with the stem-side facing up and cut it slightly off-center, cutting past the seed.
Remove the first sliced "cheek" and repeat on the other side. Then, simply grab a spoon and dig in!
If you prefer mango cubes, make a crisscross pattern on the flesh without cutting through the skin. For slices, make long cuts instead. Use gentle pressure from the skin side of each cheek to push the flesh outward.
Another option is to scoop the entire flesh and slice it on a cutting board. You can use the method that works best for you, and enjoy your delicious mango!
How to buy
Ataulfo mangoes are available from March to July. During this time, they are at their sweetest and juiciest. To enjoy this seasonal fruit at its best, proper selection and storage are crucial for optimal flavor and freshness.
As the mango ripens, it changes from green to a golden-yellow color. You can tell how ripe it is by its color and texture. The more yellow the mango, the riper it is. As it ripens, it becomes softer to the touch.
Look for mangoes that feel heavy for their size, with unblemished, smooth skin. Avoid bruises or soft spots, as this may indicate overripe or damaged fruit.
How to store
Keep mangoes at room temperature until they are ripe, indicated by their yellow color and slightly soft texture. For longer shelf life, individually wrap each fruit with plastic wrap to slow down the ripening process. This technique helps retain its natural moisture and flavor.
Once ripe, you can refrigerate them to extend their shelf life for up to 5 days. If you have sliced or cut mangoes, store them in an airtight container. Refrigerate and consume them within a day or two.
If your mango is still green and firm to the touch, it's not yet ripe. Let it ripen naturally at room temperature, which can take up to a week.
To speed up the ripening process, place them in a sealed paper bag with an ethylene-producing fruit (such as a banana or apple) at room temperature, which will accelerate the natural ripening of the fruit.
Freezing mango cubes is an excellent way to extend their shelf life. While they may become slightly mushy once thawed, you can use them for blending, baking, and other recipes. It's a convenient and practical way to reduce food waste and make the most of this wonderful fruit when in season.
Mango in Filipino cuisine
Mangoes are best enjoyed fresh and ripe on their own, but can also be used in many recipes.
- Mango Float or Mango Royale: A no-bake dessert made with layers of graham crackers, whipped cream, and fresh mangoes.
- Mango Sago: A dessert of mangoes and sago pearls with a creamy sauce, sometimes including nata de coco.
- Halo-Halo: A shaved ice dessert with ube jam (ube halaya), sweetened beans, sweetened fruits (jackfruit, macapuno, mangoes, or bananas), gulaman (agar-agar), and sago pearls. It is topped with pinipig (pounded young rice), ice cream, leche flan, and doused with evaporated milk.
- Mango Jam: A sweet and tangy spread made with mangoes, sugar, and citrus that is great for toast or pastries.
- Mango Ice Cream: A creamy, frozen dessert made with ripe mangoes, heavy cream, and sweetened condensed milk.
- Mango Shake: A creamy, ice-blended beverage made with ripe mangoes, sugar, and dairy.
- Mango Gulaman: A refreshing dessert with ripe mangoes and gulaman, a type of jelly made from agar-agar.
- Ensaladang Mangga (Green Mango Salad): A salad with unripe (green) mangoes, tomatoes, and onions tossed with vinegar and sautéed shrimp paste.
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- Cutting board
Ways to cut a mango:
- Use a knife or a vegetable peeler to peel the mango and cut around the seed.
- Hold the mango with the stem-side facing up and cut it slightly off-center, cutting past the seed. Remove the first sliced "cheek" and repeat on the other side. Grab a spoon and dig in!
- For mango cubes, make a crisscross pattern on the flesh without cutting through the skin. For slices, make long cuts instead. Use gentle pressure from the skin side of each cheek to push the mango outward.
- Another option is to scoop out the entire flesh and slice it on a cutting board.
- As the mango ripens, its color changes from green to golden-yellow and becomes softer to the touch.
- Look for mangoes that feel heavy for their size, with unblemished, smooth skin. Avoid bruises or soft spots, as this may indicate overripe or damaged fruit.
- Keep them at room temperature until they turn yellow and feel slightly soft. For longer shelf life, individually wrap each fruit with plastic wrap to slow down the ripening process.
- Refrigerate them once ripe, extending their shelf life to 5 days. Store sliced or cut mangoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume them within a day or two.
- For unripe mango that is still green and firm to the touch, let it ripen naturally at room temperature. It can take up to a week for the mango to ripen. To ripen a mango faster, place it in a sealed paper bag with an ethylene-producing fruit (like a banana or apple) at room temperature.
- Freezing mango cubes is excellent for blending, baking, and other recipes.
I love champagne mangoes when they’re in season. They almost taste like Manila mangoes, which i never see here in the US.