The mango (La mangue)
Last week, I was talking with my mum over the phone and I was curious to know the current seasonal fruits in Guadeloupe. The funniest part was when she shouted: MANGOES!!! We are invaded with them she said! This made me remember that there is a mango tree at my parents’ house, in the front yard. As far as I remember, I grew up with this mango tree and really loved it because it was multipurpose. The shade of the tree has always been so helpful, especially during heatwave. Also, we never run out of mangoes as the tree was bearing lots of fruits. In this blog post, I am going to introduce the mango that has been an integral part of my childhood.
Origin & Description
The mango is native to South Asia and had been introduced in Guadeloupe in the late 18th century. Mango trees are quite tall reaching between 35 to 45 metres in height with a crown radius of 10 metres. Their barks are smooth and grey to dark brown-coloured. Mango trees have dense foliage; the alternate and evergreen leaves are quite persistent measuring 15 to 35 centimetres long and 6 to 16 centimetres broad. Young leaves are orange-pink but when mature, they become dark green as well as leathery and glossy.
The fleshy fruit may be round or oval and weighs from 50 grams to over 1.5 kilograms. The immature fruit has green skin that gradually turns yellow, orange, purple, pink, red or a combination of all of these colours when mature, depending on the variety. When ripe the flesh is light yellow to orange as well as juicy, sweet and fibrous. The fruit has a single large seed.
There are over 180 species of mangoes in Guadeloupe out of the 2000 all around the world. The most famous are:
- Mango “Pomme”, a low fibre mango with a round shape
- Mango “Fil”, a high fibre mango with an oval shape
- Mango “Boeuf” which is one of the largest variety
- Mango “Julie”, an oval and flat-shaped mango with light-green and red skin
- Mango “Reine Amélie”, has a thinner skin than the other species
- Mango “Greffée”
- Mango “Zékodenn”
In Guadeloupe, there are multiple ways to enjoy a mango. Obviously, the most common way is to devour the ripe fruit raw as a dessert or snack. When I was younger, I remember spending hours with my friend just binging on mangoes as there were mangoes trees everywhere in my area. Alternatively, mango juices, mango jams, mango punchs and mango sorbets are very famous. Green mangoes are used in fish court-bouillon, fish blaff or Colombo (curry based dish with pork, lamb, chicken or beef) giving the food a soft touch of sourness. You can also enjoy a tasty grated green mango salad with a good vinaigrette as a starter.
Nutrients content and Health benefits
The mango fruit is rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids antioxidant compounds.
The fruit is an excellent source of vitamins such as:
- Vitamin A which helps the skin to become softer and shinier
- Vitamin C which helps the body to develop resistance against infectious agents
- Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin E
But also, rich in:
- Minerals such as: Copper, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and manganese.
- Electrolytes: Potassium (to regulate the blood pressure) and sodium.
- Flavonoids like Beta-carotene, Alpha-carotene, and Beta-cryptoxanthin.
When visiting Guadeloupe, the best period to savour a mango is between May to September. If you are lucky enough, you could probably find a mango tree and help yourself without spending a single euro.