Mmmm! Sweet and juicy Mango…. who can resist their charms?! Once the fruits start to swell and ripen it is hard not to look up longingly on a regular basis. It isn’t long before the fruits sway on the higher branches from their long ‘strings’ and tempt you to eat them, as you find yourself quietly beckoning one of the fruits to drop into your hand. Luckily for me I had a willing and capable tree climber who presented me with sweet and juicy East Indian Mangoes on a daily basis whilst they were ripening on the tree (big smiley face!).
It is said that Mangoes were introduced to Jamaica in the 1700’s when a French Ship was captured at sea by Lord Rodney. There are many varieties of Mango available throughout Jamaica and everyone has their favourite. But, I had the pleasure of a large East Indian Mango Tree in the yard which gave me ample fruits to eat throughout July and barely into the first week of August….
East Indian Mango
This type of Mango grows to a really big size and the skin is green with reddish marks on it. You can smell the aromatic scent wafting through the skin when they are ripe and they should yield slightly when squeezed. If the fruit is rock hard then don’t buy (or pick) it, but if it starting to shows signs of softening it can be encouraged to ripen if left in a warm place wrapped in a paper bag (or a sheet of The Gleaner!) for a couple of days.
How to Eat Mangoes Jamaican Style…
When you are ready to eat the Mango you should wash the skin, which cannot be consumed. If you choose you can simply bite completely through the top of the skin where it was attached to the tree and suck out the flesh inside, before discarding the skin. Then you just peel the skin down (much as if you were trying to peel an apple in one piece) in a circular fashion, eating the flesh as you go – don’t forget to eat the flesh clinging to the skin! The flesh inside is a gorgeous orangey-yellow colour and it tastes joyous – oh so juicy and sweet! There is a large seed inside the middle of the flesh, but you can eat around it if you are eating the Mango whole. The trick is to clean off as much flesh from the seed as possible before discarding the seed and skin responsibly.
Or, if you prefer to remove the Mango flesh and reserve it for a dessert, sauce, drink or anything else you can think of… Place the mango upright on a hard surface, carefully holding the Mango steady and feel for the seed inside. Using a sharp knife (that is longer than the width of the Mango) cut from the top to the bottom of the Mango as close as possible to the seed. Repeat on the other side, so you have removed the two ‘fattest sides’ of the Mango flesh, carefully cut through the flesh in a ‘grid’ pattern but don’t break through the skin. Now you can push the skin from the back and delicious squares of Mango will ‘pop’ forward presented to you to harvest! The rest of the Mango flesh can be cut from the seed and cut from the skin in the same way.
The Health Benefits of Eating Mangoes
I can understand why Mangoes are known as the ‘King of Fruits’. Because I took a great deal of comfort from feeding my face with a daily supply of this delicious tropical delight in Jamaica this July, when I realised how good they were for me!
The science behind the pleasure attained from eating Mangoes is that they contain a special enzyme that soothes the stomach, aids digestion and increases the appetite.
They are also packed full of the good stuff, such as: dietary fibre and they are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Plus, they are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as, B6, A, C, E, K, niacin, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, panthothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, selenium, calcium, iron and copper. Antioxidant sources include quercetin, betacarotene, and astragalin.
All these attributes mean that by eating Mangoes you can to help keep blood pressure under control and help to eliminate certain cancers, heart conditions and bowel problems. What is there not to like? Enjoy eating copious amounts of Mangoes in Jamaica!
Please do not help yourself and pick Mangoes from a tree in Jamaica unless
you have permission from the land owner first!