VISITORS to most of the tropical and subtropical regions of earth are likely to encounter that mild and mellow fruit-the mango. Have you ever eaten it? It is not likely if you have not visited a land where it is grown, for it is not too suitable for export purposes. But to give you an idea how it impresses the taste buds-it has been described as a combination of peach, apricot, pineapple and strawberry.
On your first sampling of this kidney-shaped, golden fruit, you may not quite agree. In fact, some persons on first tasting it have been known to say, “Ugh! This tastes like turpentine!” Since it is an aromatic fruit, the aroma, when extremely strong, reminds one of turpentine. But spinach, Russian caviar and French champagne do not always commend themselves at the first trial. One has to cultivate a taste for them.
Since the mango is so mild and mellow, a number of expressions have come into common use, expressions that feature the mango. For example, “What a mango!” means “What a beauty!” Or, “Don’t cry; suck on your مانجا Solo Leveling!” suggests something more pleasant that aids one to forget his troubles.
This delectable fruit grows on trees, beautiful trees, thick, dark green and attaining a height of 40 to 50 feet. Some have been known to reach 90 feet. Grafted mango trees may bear fruit after two or three years; it takes five years for a newly planted tree. The first crop may yield only about 150 mangoes, but when the tree reaches its peak it may bear as many as 5,000 or even more. For best results the trees are spaced some 60 feet from each other. The slender, dark-green leaves may measure as long as 12 inches. The blossoms take the form of tiny pink flowers that grow in small clusters at the ends of the branches.
There are many varieties of mangoes. In fact, there are so many that in India alone some 500 varieties have been described. They vary in size from that of an ordinary apple to a fruit that may weigh as much as three pounds. Too, they vary in color. The fruit is covered by a thin leathery skin. There is a large, flat seed almost as long as the fruit itself, enclosed in a thick husk. Some like to roast the mango seeds and eat them. The flesh of the mango may vary as to consistency. In the poorer quality it will be found that many tough fibers grow into the pulp. The better quality fruit can be eaten with a spoon, it is so tender.
Mexico is a land blessed with numerous delicious fruits. Its large markets feature hundreds of fruit stands offering pineapples, apricots, peaches, apples, grapes, watermelons, cantaloupes, pears, grapefruits, mammees, sapotes, oranges, tangerines, bananas, figs, and a great variety of berries. Yet, when the Manila mango is at its best, from May to August, the entire market sparkles with its golden color.
Some Mango History
It appears that the mango originally grew wild in southeastern Asia. It reached America sometime in the 1700’s. In 1900 the United States government introduced Indonesian and Philippine varieties, popular because they are largely fiberless, and they thrived in southern Florida. The Manila mango is a strong favorite. It has bright yellow skin, delicious tender pulp and a very thin seed-all of them commendable features from the standpoint of marketing.
On the northwest coast of Mexico there are many varieties of mangoes that have been crossed with other fruits to produce even greater variety. For example, one can get the pineapple mango, the peach mango, and so on. In the south there is a variety known as petacón-very large, about the size of a large eggplant, and weighing more than a pound. Also there is the very tasty Paradise mango, from the vicinity of Acapulco, quite similar to the petacón, but having a much more attractive skin, a blend of rich autumn colors.
Once you have eaten a peach in its skin, you will have some idea of the problem faced when you want to eat a mango in the same manner. Some adults and most children, after eating a mango in this fashion, look as if they had washed their faces with the fruit. To avoid this there are special forks available, and some become so experienced in their use that they do not get one drop of the mango juice on face or plate. It is an art. Of course, it can also be eaten with ice cream or in the form of preserves. And it is not beyond the bound of possibility that people may soon be asking for a mango split instead of the familiar banana split.
One can buy this fruit by the kilo, by piles of four or five, and by the box. When one buys the box one gets mangoes of all sizes. In the harvest season prices are very reasonable, and the mango becomes the popular dessert. Mango vendors are not confined to the marketplace either. One can see them, balancing boards filled with beautiful mangoes, dodging the traffic at street crossings, seeking to interest drivers in their delicious merchandise.