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a very juicy and healthy fruit
Mangoes originated in East India, Burma and the Andaman Islands bordering the Bay of Bengal. Around the 5th century B.C., Buddhist monks are believed to have introduced the mango to Malaysia and eastern Asia. Persian traders took the mango into the Middle East and Africa, and Portuguese traders brought it from there to Brazil and the West Indies. Mango cultivars arrived in Florida in the 1830's and in California in the 1880's. The leading mango producer is India, but most are consumed within the country. Mexico and China compete for second place, followed by Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria, Brazil, Philippines, and Haiti.
The mango tree (Mangifera indica) is an evergreen member of the Anacardiaceae family, which also includes cashews and pistachios. The tree can grow up to 130 feet tall, but most cultivars have been bred for a maximum height of about 60 feet. It has has slender, pointed leaves that are about one inch long, and tiny pink flowers grow in clusters at the ends of small branches. After the flowers finish, the fruit takes from three to six months to ripen.
The ripe fruit is variably colored yellow, orange and red, reddest on the side facing the sun and yellow where shaded. When ripe the unpeeled fruit gives off a distinctive resinous slightly sweet smell. In the center of the fruit is a single flat, oblong seed that is 1.5-2.75 inches long and 1-1.5 inches wide. The flesh of a ripe mango is very sweet, with a unique taste. The texture of the flesh varies markedly between different cultivars; some have quite a soft and pulpy texture similar to an over-ripe plum, while others have a firmer flesh much like that of a cantaloupe or avocado, and in some cultivars the flesh can contain fibrous material. Mangoes are very juicy. In fact, they are so high in moisture that a single apple-sized mango can weigh up to 3 pounds.
An average-sized mango provides up to 96% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C, 32% of Vitamin A, and 15% of dietary fiber, all for only 135 calories. Mangoes also contain emzymes that aid in digestion and intestinal health.
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This page was last updated on 06/16/2017.