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Mango

 

Mango
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Mango

Mango (in Thai MA MUANG) is one of the oldest tropical plants and it's been grown by people for over 4000 years.
In Europe, people first knew about mangoes thanks to the conquests of Alexander the Great, while this fruit has reached America (United States, Mexico, Brazil, and other countries) only in the mid-19th century.

India is considered the birthplace of Mango, where it has always been a favorite treat for the aristocracy as well as for the poor. One of the rulers of the Mughal dynasty, the Emperor Akbar Jalal-ud-din was famous not only for the fact that during his reign India became more powerful, but also for the fact that he himself has planted gardens of hundreds of thousands of mango trees.
Now during the Indian Mango Festival one can see up to three hundred varieties of mangoes of different shapes, sizes and colors.
In Thailand its variety is a bit more modest than in India - in its territory only about a hundred of mangoes varieties is cultivated.
According to the philosophy of feng shui, you should plant a mango tree in the southern part of the garden. Many generations of Thais believe and follow this tradition.

According to the food value and the volume of consumption, mangoes are second only to bananas.
Mango fruits weigh from fifty grams to 1 kilogram or more and consist of 80% of water. As a rule, they are removed from the tree unripe, and ripen on the way to your table.
By the way, the export of mangoes from Thailand to other countries is more than 3 million tons annually, Thailand is the third country exporter of mango after India and China.
Long-living evergreen mango trees can bear fruit while being of the age of more than 300 years and can reach a height of 35-40 meters.
The tree yields only once a year, but due to the difference in climatic conditions in Thailand and due to the large diversity of varieties, mango can be found in markets and shops all year round.

Ripe mangoes are easily recognizable by the flavor.
The stalk of a ripe mango produce a sweet and sticky juice and its surface is generally smooth and slightly springy when lightly pressed with fingers. If after you have pressed it with your finger a dent remains - the fruit is overripe and once you buy it its best to eat it right away within the next few hours.
Wrinkled skin of the fruit, as well as the skin with black spots - a sure sign of over-ripeness.
In Pattaya Floating market for the first time we were not allowed to touch the mango with fingers. Perhaps it is peculiar only to those "tourist areas", such as Pattaya, since in Samui and in other places in Thailand we have never seen anyone selling the fruit saying such things.

Contrary to a popular belief it is not only the well known throughout the world  "Yellow Thai mango " that is grown in Thailand. There are sweet mangoes that may even be of a dark green color.
Here are just some of the varieties that you must try while in Thailand (Photos were taken from the website http://www.simply-thai.com/Thai-Market_Fruit_Mango.htm)


- Nam-Dok-Mai
Yellow oval fruit with a pointed tip and with a sweet and fragrant flesh of a golden-yellow color.

- Keo-Sa-Woei
Dark green, oblong fruit with sweet pale yellow flesh.


- Thong-Dam
Oval fruit with a rounded tip and a sweet yellow-orange pulp.


- Ok Rhong
Oval fruit with a rounded tip and a sweet pale yellow flesh


- Raed
An oblong fruit with a pointed protrusion near the stem and with sweet and fragrant pale yellow flesh.


- Nang Klang Wan
Dark green fruit with a curved and sharpened tip and with sweet and fragrant pale yellow flesh.

- Pimsean
Oval fruits with a tapered tip and sweet pale yellow flesh.

This is only a small part of the diversity of mangos in Thailand.
You can use them in many different ways.
You can just eat it raw, it can be pickled, salted, dryed, used in salads, sauces, jams, jellies.
In some countries a mango seed powder is used as a spice for meat dishes, as well as salad dressings.
You can use the leaves too – leaves are used to make a decoction to treat bronchitis and severe asthma attacks. They are also said to relieve dental pain.
The most popular types are Nam-Dok-Mai and Ok Rhong, those are the fruits used in making one of the most famous desserts in Thailand - Khao Niaw Ma Muang - glutinous rice cooked in sweet coconut milk with slices of mango.

Now lets talk about benefits of mango.
First, mango pulp is rich in beta-carotene,  content is even greater than in carrots (beta-carotene is used by the body for the synthesis of vitamin A).


In addition, mangoes are rich in B vitamins (the water-soluble vitamins, which are flushed out of the body when sweating, therefore, need to be replenished regularly), organic acids, dietary fiber, potassium and iron.
The whole fruit of a medium size covers a third of the daily requirement for potassium and significantly lowers blood pressure.
Fresh mango juice helps to improve sleep and strengthen the walls of blood vessels.


Studies have shown that mango contains substances that have antioxidant properties and therefore it may have anti-cancer and cardioprotective effect, reducing the risk of cataracts and degeneration of the optic nerve and even slowing down the aging process.

From personal observation: The regular use of mango noticeably improves the condition of the skin, smooth out facial wrinkles. However, too much of mango, particularly in combination with sunbathing, might be harmful because of the high content of vitamins that can cause severe allergic reactions (on the skin). In general, everything has to be consumed in moderation. This also applies to the exotic fruit even if they are healthy and tasty.


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