Indian Mangoes: Alphonso, Alphonso!
Indian mangoes are in season from March to May. They are the ugliest mangoes around, but for me, there is no question they are the best. Not surprising, since mangoes come from India in the first place. They have an almost spicy taste that nicely compliments the sweetness.
How to choose a mango
Indian mangoes often look bruised and half-rotten compared to other varieties when in fact they are at their very best. All you have to do is feel them to check how ripe they are. They should be slightly soft and smell full and fruity.
I buy them by the carton in Geneva’s Boulevard Helvétique market, or from Indian supermarkets. It’s all right to buy some that are not quite ripe so that you can eat them over a period of several days, or use some of them in green mango recipes. Indian mangoes ripen better off the tree than other varieties.
Mango shelf life
Mangoes keep well in the refrigerator for a week and often even two. Don’t put them in plastic. Leave them loose in the fruit bin or in the carton if you’ve bought a whole carton.
If they’re not ripe enough, put them in a paper bag and leave them at room temperature until they’re ready, just like for avocados.
India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world, with 2,143,000 hectares harvested, according to the Wikipedia. Indians eat them both ripe and green, rather like papayas, and like papayas, they contain an enzyme that aids digestion.
A single mango can contain up to 40% of the fiber you need daily, and is full of antioxidants and potassium.
How to eat a mango
Mango as a fruit on its own
The “How to Eat a Mango” section on the freshmangoes site explains step by step with illustrations for cutting and eating.
Mango as an accompaniment to a meal or a condiment
Mango chutney is good with fish, and makes a simple, healthy meal when served with Basmati rice. Green mango sauce is an easy way to liven up a piece of grilled meat or chicken. The freshmangoes site gives recipes of every imaginable type.
And of course, what is more delightful than a fresh, ripe mango to clean your palate and help you digest after a big meal.
If mangoes are your favorite fruit, and you think you can’t live without them (which is my case), Jonathan Allen’s article in the New York Times is a must.
The Buddha supposedly lived under a mango tree, and above all, this “king of fruits,” as it is often referred to, is associated with “abundance, joyousness and the carefree innocence of childhood,” says T.S. Satyan. I remember the first time I ever tasted mango juice, as they call it in India (it’s actually just puréed mango). I certainly felt enlightened!
A version of this article was originally published on GenevaLunch.