Rejoice the Mango! from Janice Taylor, Beliefnet Blogger
Mangoes have been around for at least 4,000 years. They grow on huge trees and the mango fruit gracefully hangs down like an upside-down lollipop on a very long stem.
They are considered a comfort food in many parts of the world and have an amazingly rich and meaningful history.
It is said that Amrapali, a very beautiful dancer and courtesan from Vaishali, lived in Buddha’s time (600 B.C.). She offered Buddha a mango orchard. She was so impressed by his teachings that she became a nun.
Mango trees grant wishes and are a symbol of love. The mango tree flowers during spring and when it is laden with blossom, the cuckoo sings in the tree. It is thus associated with the season of love in traditional poetry.
I am sure that you can now see how mangoes bring comfort and while they are messy and a tad difficult to eat, they are well worth the effort.
Succulent, juicy and delicious they are rich in beta -carotene and vitamin C, not to mention low in calories and high in fiber. One cup of mango slices is approximately 110 calories with 0.5 grams of fat and 3 grams of dietary fiber.
They are available from January through September, however, those that enter the marketplace later are generally of better quality. Mexican mangoes are available from April through September; and Florida mangoes from May through August, although they peak in June and July.
The next time you’re a bit frazzled, and in need of a little comfort, solace, smoothing over – reach for a mango.
How to Pick a Mango: Pick up a mango and very softly press your thumb against its flesh. Does it give a bit and smell really sweet, like a flower? Great! If there are a few black spots on it, not to worry, as mangoes bruise so easily. But if covered with bruises, it is past its prime! The best sized mango is about a pound or so. And for the most part, if a mango smells great, it tastes great.
If the mango is green and firm, you can bring it home and ripen it yourself! Leave the mango on the counter for a few days, until it colors (yellow/orange to red), is soft to the thumb, and smells good. Do not refrigerate a mango. If you store a mango below 50ºF for any length of time it will lose its flavor.
How to Cut a Mango: It’s important to use a sharp thin-bladed knife. First, cut off both ends of the fruit. Then place fruit on the counter, flat end down, and using knife, peel the skin off from top to bottom along curvature of the fruit. Then cut fruit into slices by carving lengthwise along the pit. The pit is huge!
Righteous Recipe ~ Mango Soup
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon grass, chopped
1 large pinch cayenne
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger
1-3/4 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
Place the mango in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times. Add: lemongrass, ginger, cayenne, and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Process until completely smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the rest of the chicken broth. Stir well. Add the yogurt and stir again. Chill, and garnish with cilantro before serving.
Makes six servings. Approximately 50 calories per serving!
Table Talk: Fun mango factoids to toss around the dinner table while you’re enjoying your delicious Mango Soup!
Mangoes are known as “the apple of the tropics.”
More fresh mangoes are eaten world-wide than any other fruit.
Indian villagers believe that when a son is born, mango trees grow new leaves. So they use leaves to decorate their doorways and announce the happy event to the world.
Mango leaves are also used at wedding ceremonies to ensure that the newlyweds will bear children.
On holy days, Hindus use mango twigs to brush their teeth.
Spread the word, not the icing!
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