Thursday, October 3, 2013

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How to Choose, Store, Cut, and Cook with Fresh Mangos (#Mangover)


This post has been written as part of a paid campaign for The Motherhood, who also provided complimentary product samples for us to participate in an instructional webinar and additional products for our contest prize.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Like to many, for the longest time, mangos have been a mystery to me.  I was never served it growing up, so in turn I never served it to my own family.  I've had mango flavored beverages and have purchased gourmet jarred peach mango salsa from a specialty store, but that was the extent of my exposure to this fruit.  When I was invited to participate in a webinar with Meghan McKenna of the National Mango Board, I was very intrigued.  I ultimately accepted the invitation and was very happy that I did.  I learned so much about how to select the right mangos in the produce section, how to store mangos at home to ensure they ripen properly, how to cut mangos, and how to incorporate them into our everyday meals.  Now I am eager to share the tips I learned with all of you!

How to choose the right mango . . . 

Every fruit has different rules when it comes to choosing one that is at the desired level of ripeness.  You can look for a ripe mango by gently squeezing it.  It should feel slightly soft like a peach.  Since there are so many varieties of mangos, you cannot really judge the level of ripeness of a mango by its external color.  There are 6 different varieties of mangos . . . Ataulfo, Francis, Haden, Keitt, Kent, and Tommy Atkins.  You should be able to find at least one variety in your area no matter what time of year it is.


How to store mangos at home . . . 

Depending on when you plan to use your mangos and their level of ripeness, there are different ways to store them.  If your mangos are not quite ripe, then you can store them out in the open at room temperature.  If you need your mangos to ripen quickly because you plan on using them soon, then you can store them at room temperature in a paper bag to speed up the process.  Once a mango is ripe, it should be stored in the fridge and can remain there for up to 5 days while uncut.  If you purchased more mangos than you ended up needing, you can store peeled or cut mangos in the freezer for up to 6 months if you use a good airtight container.


How to cut a mango . . . 

I was amazed at how easy it is to cut a mango.  I would not have believed it if I hadn't done it myself.  After washing your mango, stand it up on a cutting board with the stem facing down.  Then, with the eye facing up, cut the mango straight down about a quarter inch to the right and to the left of the eye.  If done correctly, you should have two fleshy mango cheeks to use as you like.  I found it easiest to cut the mango flesh with a knife in a grid pattern without cutting through the skin and to use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.


Tips for cooking with mangos . . . 
  • You can prepare mangos for cooking in advance since they can be stored in the freezer after being cut.
  • Some easy ways to add mangos to your food would be serving them on top of breakfast cereal, yogurt, or ice cream.  (One cup of mangos is only 100 calories and gives you your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C.  They also contain antioxidants, are fat-free and cholesterol-free, and are a good source of fiber.)
  • Mangos can easily substitute for tomatoes in most recipes.
  • You can try to add mangos to any of your recipes containing fruit for a new twist to a classic recipe, such as adding mangos to strawberry shortcake, cranberry sauce, and pies or cobblers.

You can find tons of tasty looking recipes in the Mango Recipe Box, such as Mango Bacon BBQ Pizza, Coconut Shrimp with Ginger Mango Sauce, Mango Bread, Mango Banana Smoothies, and so much more.  Among the hundreds of mango recipes found on www.mango.org, we were not able to find the salsa recipe were were looking for, but we did find a Peach Mango Salsa recipe elsewhere online.  This recipe was extremely easy to make, especially if you use a salsa maker to chop all the ingredients for you.  We did change the recipe a little to suit our tastes by adding 1-1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt.  I loved this salsa because it tastes so fresh and it is not spicy like most salsas.  The mango gives this salsa a nice sweet tangy flavor.  Next time we make it, we might add more garlic and cilantro.  Which one of your favorite foods would you like to try preparing with mangos in it?

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