Mango

Mango

Mango season has just started in Suriname, which means that we are looking at flourishing mango trees and colorful piles of juicy mangos in local markets and at fruit stalls along the roads.

Unripe purple mango
Unripe purple mango

The scientific name of the mango tree is Mangifera Indica. It grows in the wild in parts of Southern Asia, from where it probably spread to East Asia, thousands of years ago. By the 10th century CE, the fruit was introduced to East Africa by Arabs, after which Portuguese brought it to Brazil at the beginning of the 18th century. The rest is history, as they say – as a neighboring country of Brazil, Suriname is currently blessed with a great mango tree variety.

Many hundreds of mango cultivars have been named, but not all climates are suitable for all cultivars. In Suriname, we have around 20 cultivars.

Mango trees are evergreens and can grow up to 40 m, carrying a dense crown with a 10 m radius. The leaves are alternate, averaging about 20 cm in length, and 10 cm in width. Check out the pictures that I took of a tall mango tree in my birthplace, on the Nature page.

Young mango leaves
Young mango leaves have a silky feel and a delicate pinkish color, which gradually turns into dark green as they mature. Mango inflorescences are composed of thousands of small flowers; only a part of those turn into a fruit and only part of the fruits mature. It takes three to six months for a mango to grow from blossom into a ripe fruit.

 

Mangos are juicy and delicious, would you not agree? They are considered stone fruits because of their hard, stone-like kernel, which covers the seed. Ripe mangos vary in size and color – from green to yellow and red on the outside, and from yellow to orange on the inside. Mango sizes range from small ones the size of a kiwi, to humongous kinds of each over 2 lbs in weight. Some mangos are quite fibrous, while others contain no threads.

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Mango Tree is getting the works

Most of you probably know what a mango tastes like. Still, I will elaborate on the taste a little bit, since most mangos available in stores in the US, Canada and Europe are really not the champions. They are certainly not all bad. However, during my years in Europe, many a time I got myself an absolutely tasteless and/or rotten on the inside mango. They look perfect on the outside: nice, shiny and fat, with a pretty color.

However, the drawback of exported mangos is that they are often the kinds that boast features such as a long shelf-life and transportability, and they get picked way too early. Although they do continue to ripe during shipping and storing, they are nothing compared to sun-ripened mangos. Once you experience the truly tasty flavor of a juicy and aromatic sun-ripened mango, you will no longer settle for less! Check out some fresh mangos from Suriname below! I will show you two of my favorites!

mango_manja1
Purple mangos

This picture shows a bunch of purple mangos hanging from the tree in my yard. Don’t you just love the color? These mangos get kissed by the sun every single day, until their initially shy blush gets more and more intense, and their sweet fragrance starts spreading around the tree. In just a couple of weeks from now, they will be ready to fall off.

Purple mangos are quite thready. Yet, they have great taste and are much loved as one of the most popular mangos in Suriname. Over here, we call them Roodborstje, which would translate from Dutch into English as Red Robin – yes, the bird!

mango_manja4
Yellow mangos from purple mango tree

The wondrous thing about this tree of purple mangos is that it produces yellow mangos as well. Check this picture here – these yellow mangos are from the very same tree: same shape, same taste, same fragrance – just a different color. Some of these yellow purples mangos do get a red blush, but as you can see, the ones in this picture are really just plain yellow.

Some mangos keep their green color when they ripen, or only get a mild coloration. Look at these huge babies as an example. These large, elongated mangos originate from Indonesia. They are threadless, have a wonderful aromatic fragrance, and they are incredibly tasty. Just delicious! A favorite with many! And, they easily measure up to 20 cm.

mango_manja7
Unripe Golet mangos on the left, and just slightly colored ripe Golet mangos on the right

Now, let’s talk linguistics, as a side note! Did you know that the plural of mango can be written either as mangoes or mangos? The word mango can be traced back to the spice trade between Portugal and the Kerala region in India, in 1498. During this time, the Malayalam word māṅṅa was introduced to the Portuguese, who then named the fruit manga. It is unclear when or why we ended up with the o at the end of mango. Should you happen to know, please do drop me a note!

Over here in Suriname, mangos are a tremendously popular fruit. Everybody loves them and many have one mango or the other as their favorite. People who are fortunate enough to own a tree, tend to brag about their mangos being the best! Personally, I often find myself buying Roodborstjes (Red Robins), because of their beautiful color – they just look appealing and, not the least, they taste terrific, too! They are thready, though. Another mango that I like a lot, is the giant pictured above: Golet – huge, sweet, no threads, and very tasty! So, there you have two of my favorite mangos. Next, let me show you a totally different one.

mango_manja8See, we also have mangos less well-known and less popular, such as Turpentine mango. Turpentine, you might wonder? That’s right! It so happens that all mangos contain a small amount of turpentine/kerosene. Should your mango smell of turpentine, though, toss it – do not eat it. However, there is a mango by the name of Turpentine mango, supposedly named for its turpentine taste. Honestly, I am not familiar with this particular mango. I just find it fascinating that it should taste like turpentine! I have been told, though, that Turpentine mangos are very sweet and tasty. Well, I do not know – I just thought I would tell you about it and show you what they look like.

Let’s move on to eating a mango! It may seem pretty straightforward, but dealing with a juicy mango can turn out to be no easy task – this is, if you do not want mango juice running down your arms and dripping off your cheeks! Surinamese kids learn to eat mangos by biting a small hole in the top and squeezing the mango so they can suck up the juice. When most of the juice is consumed, they peel the mango using mango_manjablokjestheir teeth and then eat the pulp around the pit. Another way to eat a mango is, of course, by cutting it up. This picture shows my favorite way to get mango cubes.

Except for ripe mangos, we love to eat unripe mangos, too! We use unripe mangos to prepare mango chutney, we pickle them, and eat them with salt and pepper as a snack! Delicious! And, who would refuse a glass of fresh mango juice?!

Finally, in case you did not know – let me tell you that mangos have wonderful health benefits! They contain 44% of the amounts of vitamin C and 11% of folate that we need on a daily basis. The yellow-orange color of mango pulp is because it is loaded with beta-carotene, which our bodies transform into vitamin A. Mangos also contain enzymes that help digestion!

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If any time you should be in Suriname and fancy a mouthwatering mango, you will not have to look far – they are all over the place. If you do not see any, it is not the season.

When did you last have a mango? mango_manja9

 

                                      

 

18 thoughts on “Mango

  1. Hello, excellent post. I can identify with this post because here in the Bahamas we have an abundance of mangos that the natives and tourists enjoy. Your post is very informative with good information.

    1. Hey, thanks very much, Norman!

      Great to see you again! 🙂

      I bet you have some mangos of your own on your beautiful island! Which is your favorite?

      Be good,
      Audrey

  2. I love mangoes as they’re one of my favourite fruits. I could almost taste them as I was reading this post, so I will buy one very soon!
    I live in the UK, and I’ve never seen purple mangoes sold in shops or markets before. Do you know if they’re easy to find here?

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Yvonne!

      I am not sure about purple mangos in the UK. However, you should be able to find small yellow ones at an Asian shop (Indian, Pakistani, Chinese?) – if you have one in your neighborhood. Perhaps you could also check African shops for great mangos?

      Let me know how it works out for you!

      Audrey

    1. Thank you, Maurice!

      Do try to find a nice, fresh mango. Perhaps at the Indian store in your neighborhood? They should probably have small yellow ones, very sweet. Let me know how it goes!

      Cheers,
      Audrey

  3. Ohhh this is interesting for me, I’m so glad I found your site. I have friends from Suriname and they are always going on about how beautiful it is. Nice article about mangos. Here in Malaysia we are blessed with fresh fruit and we call them mangga.
    I prefer the yellow color mango as opposed to the green. My favorite mango recipe is Thai. Spicy mango salad 🙂
    Thanks for sharing. I’ll be popping back to check out more of your Suriname news!

    1. Hi Craig,

      This is fun! Next time you talk to your friends from Suriname, great them by asking “Fawaka?”. This will make a lasting impression! 🙂

      I bet you have plenty of mangos in Malaysia to enjoy. Is it now mango season over there?

      Do come back soon and learn more about Suriname!

      Cheers,
      Audrey

  4. Hi, I do lots of strength training, I really want to eat some fruits like mango but I really have no idea bout when to eat. Do you think I should eat after sport or before?

    1. Hi Furkan,

      Mangos are a great source of energy and you can eat them before exercising, as long as you take into account the required time gap between eating and exercising. You can also eat mango after your workout. Mangos are good any time!

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Audrey

  5. Thanks for the wonderful report. I have always liked a good old travel niche and actually tempted in starting one my self due to love for traveling but i guess other projects trumps up.

    I like the use of picture and how you personalized it to prevent against plagiarism on the net.

    You have good skill of attention to details and i am sure the lovers of mango will find your site very helpful and will stick around for a long ride.

    I will surely favorite this page for future readings and it may form part of my research into the the food industry i am prepping for at the moment.

    Cheers!

    1. Thank you very much, Richard! That is very kind and encouraging.

      Please do check in regularly and make sure to let me know about your work – be it food or travels, I love both! 🙂

      All the best,

      Audrey

  6. I just learned a ton about mangos! I like that they have folate in them. Many foods dont have enough folate. Do you know if it is possible to grow mango trees in western Canada?

    1. Good to hear from you, Dan!

      Are you interested in growing a mango tree in western Canada? I am not so sure about your climate… You could just start sprouting a seed and planting it. Let me know what happens!

      Cheers,
      Audrey

  7. Very good article on the mango. As one of my favorite fruits, it’s good to know how beneficial it is. Thanks for posting such an informative article.

    Enjoy your day 🙂

  8. It is a good presentation of the mango.
    I really did not know that we can make jet fuel of the mango. This is great to know.

    1. Hi Rignald,

      Thanks very much for reading!

      You know what? If we could just get enough Turpentine mangos, we might be able to make a jet fly! 🙂

      Stop by again some time!
      Audrey

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