Learn all about the many mango health benefits, as well as how to use mangos in the kitchen, with this everything guide to mangos.
Ah, the aromatic sweetness, and sunny yellow-orange of a mango always puts a smile on my face. Where do mangos come from? Well, mangos grow in tropical climates all over the world, including Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala, and Haiti. In fact, I only learned recently that we can even grow mangos in Southern California, so I have a young tree growing in my garden at this very moment. Mangos are so delicious, with their vibrant juicy flesh, and tropical sweet flavors, so it’s no surprise they are favorite fruits around the world. But beyond their good taste, mango health benefits are powerful, too. Check out this guide on how to use mangos in the kitchen, as well as more about mango nutrition below.
Are mangos good for you? The answer is a resounding yes! Mangos are nutrient superstars, with 3 grams of fiber, 100% of the DV for vitamin C, 35% of the DV for vitamin A, 20% of the DV for folate, and 10% of the DV for vitamin B6 and copper in a one-cup serving. And what about mango calories? Only 100 calories per cup. In addition, they have a variety of phytochemicals, including ellagic acid, gallotannin, and one unique compound—mangiferin. Preliminary research links mango intake to improved glucose control and body fat composition, as well as bone health, and studies investigating possible cancer-protective effects are also underway.
So, now that you know mangos are so good for you, what about how to include mangos in your diet? I’m answering your top questions on how to use mangos.
Mangos ripen on their own if they are stored at room temperature for a few days. You can also place them in a paper bag, folded down at the top, to allow for speedier ripening. How to tell if a mango is ripe? The color turns from greenish to a more orange, red or pink color (see photos above for ripe mangos), and the skin is a bit softer when pushed. However, you don’t want overripe mangos! If they are mushy, then that means they are overripe.
If your mangos are “green” or unripe, store them outside until they ripen. Once they are ripe, use them right away or refrigerate to slow down ripening process. They may be stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator before using. If you cut them, they can last several days in an airtight container in the fridge, or even months in the freezer.
Mangos are pretty easy to peel when they are ripe. Use a sharp paring knife and simply slice away the peel as close to the outside as possible so you don’t waste that luscious flesh. Compost the peels for your garden.
If you’re wondering how to cut a mango, the answer is that there are a few different ways. My favorite way is to first peel the outer skin away with a sharp knife, then cutting each “cheek” off the pit. You simply place the peeled mango on a cutting board lengthwise, with the stem side facing up and the end facing down, then slice away the right side of the mango as close to the pit as possible into a thick cheek; then repeat on the left side. You will be left with the pit and a small amount of fruit on the top and bottom of it, which you can cut away and use. Voila!
Check out some of my favorite ways to mangos.
1. Simply au Naturel
Just slice them and eat them by the chunks as a naturally sweet dessert. If you’re wondering how to slice them, check out this easy video here.
2. Whip up a Mango Smoothie
Mangos are really delicious in smoothies, such as my Mango Carrot Ginger Smoothie. Try frozen or fresh mangos, along with bananas, greens, pineapple, coconut, and your favorite plant-based milk. You can also enjoy a handcrafted mango margarita for more festive occasions.
3. Dice them into Salads
The sweetness and crunch of mangos adds intrigue to salads, including green, grain, fruit, and bean salads.
4. Slice them over Cereals
Instead of your classic bananas and berries, why not try sliced mangos over your morning oats? With a sprinkle of macadamias and a splash of fortified soy milk, this breakfast will start your day off right.
5. Go Savory
Mangos can also work well in savory dishes, just look to the traditional Indian dishes that include mangos for inspiration. Slice them into an herbal grain dish, spicy masala, or Caribbean stew for starts.
Check out my video on making this Southwestern Black Bean Quinoa Mango Salad here.
For other ways to use plants, check out the following:
How to Cook Kohlrabi
Persimmons 101: Health Benefits, Recipes, and More
How to Use Cherimoya
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
How to Cook All Greens