Whether you pluck your mango from a backyard tree, purchase it at a roadside stand or get it at the grocery store, this luscious fruit is one of the perks of living in South Florida.
South Florida is one of the few places in the continental United States where mango can be grown. That means that the coming months, the harvest season for mango, provide us the best access in the country to this nutritious and intoxicating fruit.
Sweet, succulent and with just the right touch of tartness, mango is a tasty addition to many recipes, including salads and salsas. Its natural tenderizing properties also make it a great ingredient for marinades (See recipes below).
“There’s nothing like a mango in season. It’s one of my favorite fruits,” said nutritionist Carla Duenas (pictured above), a registered dietitian with Community Health at Baptist Health , which offers free cooking, nutrition and exercise classes. “We get our mangos when they are at their freshest and peak nutritional value.”
Known in many cultures as the king of fruits, the mango is packed with more than 20 vitamins and minerals, including 100 percent of your daily vitamin C in a single cup. In addition, it has a hefty punch of vitamins A and B6 and dietary fiber. Mango is rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium and copper, and it is among the best sources of antioxidants such as beta-carotene.
Even with all those attributes, some people shy away from this tropical treat because they worry about the fruit’s sugar content. But there’s no reason to avoid it if you control the size of your portion to half a cup or perhaps a cup, said Ms. Duenas. “All fruits have some natural sugar — but they also contain fiber, which slows down how it is metabolized,” she said. “It’s not the fruit itself that should concern you, it’s the portion size.”
It wouldn’t be summer without enjoying a ripe, juicy mango or two, she said. A good idea is to include mango in recipes. “You get the nutrition, and half a cup can be quite satisfying if you stretch it in a salsa or with something else,” she said. “You get the flavor, the fiber and the vitamins.”
- 1 cup ripe mango, diced finely
- 1 cup pineapple, diced
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- ½ cup red pepper, diced
- ¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 large lime, juiced (about ¼ cup lime juice)
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
- In a serving bowl, combine the cut mango, pineapple, red onion, red pepper and cilantro.
- Drizzle with the juice of one lime.
- Toss well to mix the ingredients.
- Season to taste with salt.
- For best flavor, allow the salsa rest for 10 minutes or longer.
- Serve over grilled fish or chicken, or use to liven up any dish with tropical flavor.
- 2 ripe but firm mangos, peeled and diced into medium chunks
- 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly into rings
- 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 habanero chile, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed if less heat is desired
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Toss shallot, garlic, chile, lime juice, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Add mango and cucumber and toss again.
- Cover and set at room temperature for about an hour, until flavors come together. After this, you may chill, if desired.
- To serve, add cilantro to toss well; season generously with pepper.
Mango-Kiwi Chicken Salad
- 3 large mangos, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- 4-5 kiwis, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups), divided
- 2 cups cooked rotisserie or other leftover grilled chicken, diced
- 1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus zest from peel
- 1 tablespoon sliced fresh mint, plus sprigs for garnish
- 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup roasted salted cashews, halved
- Grate ginger and place in small strainer set over bowl. Press to extract 4 teaspoons ginger juice; discard solids in strainer.
- Stir yogurt, ginger juice, lime juice, and lime zest in medium bowl.
- Set aside ½ cup of kiwi. Place chicken, mango cubes, remaining 1 1/2 cups of kiwi, and sliced mint; toss to coat. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Divide lettuce among 4 bowls. Mound chicken salad atop lettuce and garnish with cashews, remaining kiwi cubes and mint sprigs. Makes four servings.
Mango-Lime Marinated Chicken
- 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 1 cup cubed mango
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce (available in the international or Asian section of most grocery stores)
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Combine mango, garlic, lime juice, oil, fish sauce, Sriracha, brown sugar and salt in a blender. Process until smooth to make a marinade. Transfer to a large Ziploc bag.
- Add chicken. Massage to coat and refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- When chicken is ready to cook, remove from marinade and place on pre-heated grill at medium temperature. Grill for about 10 minutes, then flip and spoon a bit more marinade on the top.
- Grill chicken for an additional 10 minutes, or until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and is firm and opaque. Discard any remaining marinade.
- Garnish with cilantro if desired, and serve immediately. Makes four servings.
Simple Mango-Coconut Custard
- 2 ripe fresh mangos, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (regular or light)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 to 3 tablespoons white sugar, used sparingly if desired
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (optional)
- Set aside some cubes or slices of mango. Place remaining fruit, about a cup, into a blender or food processor. Pulse for 10 to 20 seconds to create a smooth puree, then leave in the blender or processor.
- Pour 1/4 cup of coconut milk into a mug or small bowl. Whisk in cornstarch to dissolve. Add this mixture, plus the egg yolks, to the mango. Process for 10 seconds. Set aside.
- Pour remaining coconut milk (3/4 cup) into a pot over medium heat and bring to a light boil, stirring continually until small bubbles form and surface is lightly steaming. Pour hot coconut milk into blender/processor. Immediately pulse to combine, 5 to 10 seconds.
- To finish, pour all of this back into pot and switch heat to medium-high. Stir continuously and reduce heat to medium as it thickens, 7 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, taste-test for sweetness, adding some sugar if desired for additional sweetness.
- When thickened, scoop custard mixture into serving dishes or glasses and refrigerate until cold. Before serving, add reserved cubes of fresh mango and add sprigs of fresh mint. Makes four servings.
Connie’s Orange-Mango Smoothie
- 1 cup reduced-fat Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup ice cubes
- 1/2 cup chopped, peeled ripe mango, frozen
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 medium orange, peeled and sliced into segments
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients in a blender.
- Process for one minute or until completely smooth.
- Divide mixture evenly between 2 glasses.