By Alex Navarro
The mango season is upon us, being July and August the strongest months. Every summer there is an abundance of mangos here, so while you are visiting try to get some mangos for yourself and enjoy this amazing fruit.
Let me share some great information on mangos. There are over 400 varieties of mango trees on Earth, and estimates of over one thousand if you add all the hybridization varieties.
The mango is classified as a juicy stone fruit and belongs to the genus Mangifera Indica which are mainly tropical fruit trees. This genus belongs to the family of flowering plants Anacardiaceae. The mango is indigenous to India where it has been part of their diet for over 4000 years. It is related to the pistachio, cashew and plum trees. The origin of the word Mango comes from its Sanskrit name which is am, which in turn means provisions, and later there was an adaptation of the Tamil name for the mango fruit, mang-kay. Furthermore, in 1498 during the spice trade between Portugal and Kerala in Malaysia, the English word for mango originated from the Malaysian word manna or manga.
The mango first spread from India all through Asia and the far east and then arrived in Acapulco, Mexico in 1775 when the Spanish galleons sailed their trade routes from the Philippines. After arriving in the Pacific coast of Mexico, it arrived one hundred years later in the Gulf of Mexico coast at the port of Veracruz coming from the British Antilles.
The mango has been called the king of fruits for many reasons. It accounts for over 35% of the worldwide tropical fruit consumption, the tree can grow over 35 meters tall, bear fruit in 4 years, and keep producing for as long as 50 years or more. There are also mango trees that can be 300 to 400 years old and some specimens still bear fruit. Every summer mango trees bear fruit, but some varieties give double crops.
It is also the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines and the national tree of Bangladesh. It is said that the Mughal emperor Akbar planted over 100,000 thousand mango trees in Darbhanga, India. The goddess Ambika is always depicted sitting under a mango tree as well as the deity Ganesha is represented with a ripe mango in its hand, symbolizing the potential of attaining perfection.
As I mentioned, here in Baja we are blessed to have an abundance of mangos in the summertime. Some varieties include Kent, Ataulfo also known as Manila. We also have mango Manzano, Criollo, Machete, Papayo, Petacon and the outstanding Tempranero de Mayo which is ready early in the season and is small to medium size with a very sweet flavor and strong perfumed smell.
I like to eat mangos straight from the tree, but there are many recipes that can be made from them. Here in Cabo some of them are: mango turnovers or ‘’empanadas”, mango daiquiris or margaritas, mango and fish ceviche, mango jam, mango smoothies, mango ice cream or popsicles, coconut shrimp with mango sauce, mango water, dehydrated or sun dried mangos and many others.
Make sure you try to get some mangos this vacation and of course buy a lot of dehydrated mangos, as they will make the perfect souvenir snack to take back home or enjoy on the plane flight back. Enjoy!