The Health Benefits of Mango
My favourite fruit is back in season. In fact, I am sure; mangoes are much loved in many homes. The king of fruits deserves all the good titles that come its way because it is so delicious. Mangoes are truly magical because nature has endowed them with luscious taste and plenty of vitamins, mineral and antioxidants. Mango is truly nature’s gift to India. It has been cultivated here for over 4000 years. In the Vedas, mango is praised as a heavenly fruit. In India alone, there are 500 varieties and only about 35 varieties are extensively cultivated.
The shape of mango is a popular symbol in many Indian arts and crafts. Its leaves are considered auspicious. The dark green and long tapering mango leaves are used in many elaborates puja rituals. They are strung together and hung on the doors of the home on occasions such as weddings and New Year.
• They are high in fiber but low in calories and sodium.
• When fully ripe, they are loaded with vitamin A and liberal consumption of mangoes fights common infections.
• When raw, they are loaded with vitamin C. Aam ka panna is a good remedy for heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
• Eating small tender mangoes with honey and salt can work as an effective cure for summer diarrhea.
• They are excellent sources of potassium, calcium and iron.
• Nutritionists advise at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day. Half a ripe mango can be counted a one portion of fruit.
Green and unripe mangoes contain a large portion of starch that gradually changes into glucose, sucrose and maltose, as the mangoes begin to ripen. The raw mango is a valuable source of vitamins B1 and B2. The best use of raw mango is in pickles. Another form is amchur or dried mango powder which is popular in Indian kitchens. Amchur is rich in vitamin C.
Ripe mango is a versatile fruit. Not only does it serve as a desert in its original form but also as a filling snack. In fact, one mango and a glass of milk in the morning is a good breakfast. Mangoes also act as a digestive aid, as they contain plenty of fiber besides being excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as a good source of potassium and beta-carotene. Mangoes can be added to fruit salads or pureed to make ice creams and sorbets. Juices, milk shakes, jellies, jams, mango papads and pickles are popular preparations. Ripe small mangoes can be added to curries along with buttermilk and coconut that complement its flavor very well.
Choosing the Right One:
Colour is not necessarily an indication of ripeness in a mango. Some varieties remain green even when they are ripe, while others turn golden or bright red or a combination.
• Buy unblemished fruit with no black marks on the skin. Firm mangoes with bright skin should be picked up.
• Ripe and ready for the table mangoes have a sweet smell at the stem end. It is okay to smell a fruit at the stem end to help you decide whether it is ready for consumption.
• To test the mango for ripeness, press the narrow end lightly. The flesh should yield to the pressure.
• If you have a batch of not-so-ripe mangoes, store them in an uncovered basket at room temperature for a few days. The skin will gradually brighten and the mangoes will start smelling sweet.
• Mangoes are best not refrigerated during the ripening process. But once fully ripe, they are best stored in the fridge for up to a week’s time.
A Cook’s Favorite Too:
Ripe or raw, mangoes are versatile and a cook’s dream ingredient because various dishes like ingredient because various dishes like kadhis, puris, pulaos, halwas, cakes, tarts, soufflés, kulfis, ice creams, puddings, shakes and lassi can be made using mango and mango pulp.
So much and more to say about this gorgeous fruit – mangoes are definitely the quintessential summer fruit. Here is a recipe for a flavorful ice cream made of mangoes. I have lived up on this, so it’s time for you to indulge in it.
Mango Ice Cream:
- 1 cup mango puree
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup fresh cream
- 1 cup milk powder
- ½ cup powdered sugar
Method: Place the milk, fresh cream, milk powder, powdered sugar and mango puree in a blender and blend till smooth. Pour into an ice cream container with a tight-fitting lid and freeze till set. Slice and serve.