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They say money does not grow on trees and that may be true, but mangos certainly do and the trees in Koh Samui are so laden with them at the moment it is hard to walk more than a few yards without coming across one.
The mango may not seem very exciting but in fact it is a very interesting fruit that is known as the ‘King of Fruit’ throughout the world. The name mango comes from the Tamil word ‘mangkay’ or ‘man-gay’. The name manga was adopted when Portuguese traders settled in Western India. The fruit of the mango is called a Drupe consisting of the mesocarp (edible fleshy part) and the endocarp (large woody flattened pit). The mango is a member of the Anachardiacea family, distant relatives include the cashew, pistachio, Jamaica Plum, poison ivy and poison oak.
Mangos originated from East India, Burma and the Andaman Islands bordering the Bay of Bengal around the 5th century BC. It is believed that they were introduced to Malaysia and Eastern Asia by Buddhist monks. Legend has it that Buddha found tranquility and repose in a mango grove. Persian traders took the mango into the Middle East and Africa and from there the Portuguese took them to Brazil and the West Indies. The mango started to be cultivated in Florida in the 1830’s and in California in the 1880’s.
In India the mango plays a sacred role, it is a symbol of love and some even believe that the mango tree can make wishes come true. In the Hindu culture hanging fresh mango leaves outside the front door during the Hindu New Year and Deepavali is considered a blessing for the house. Hanging the leaves outside the house during a wedding is also a ritual used to ensure the couple bare plenty of children. Some Hindus brush their teeth with mango twigs on holy days and many Southeast Asian Kings and nobles had their own mango groves as a sign of social standing, this is where the custom of sending gifts of the choicest mangos came from.
You should never burn mango wood or leaves as it produces toxic fumes that can cause serious irritation to the eyes and lungs. The leaves are considered toxic and can kill cattle or grazing livestock.
In India a yellow die used to be made by feeding cattle small amounts of mango leaves and then harvesting their urine, but since the leaves are toxic and cattle is considered sacred this practice has long been outlawed.
Over twenty million metric tons of mangos are grown throughout the world, the leading producer being India, but with very little export trade most are consumed domestically. Mexico is the second biggest producer along with China followed by Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria, Brazil, the Philippines and Haiti.
Every part of the mango is beneficial and has been utilized in folk remedies in some form or another. Whether the bark, leaves, skin or pit; all have been concocted into various types of treatments or preventatives down through the centuries. A partial list of the many medicinal properties and purported uses attributed to the mango tree are as follows: anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-septic, anti-tussive (cough), anti-asthmatic, expectorant, cardiotonic, contraceptive, aphrodisiac, hypotensive, laxative, stomachic (beneficial to digestion).
Mangos are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and for those who are physically active, whether working out or constantly on the go, mangos are a great way to replenish that lost potassium. An average sized mango can contain up to 40% of your daily fiber requirement. If you are eating your mango-a-day, irregularity is not a problem for you and so we’ll spare the gruesome details regarding constipation, piles and spastic colon.
Just For Fun
Mango Mash: It’s fun. It’s messy. It’s a blast. It’s how kids all over the world eat mangos. Take a ripe mango that’s slightly soft. With enough pressure to mash the mango’s insides but not so much that you break the skin, start squeezing and rolling the mango until it feels like the flesh inside is broken down. Have someone cut off the tip top of the mango and then suck out the pulp and juice. It’s like drinking a mango smoothie with nothing but pure mango flavor.
Note to adults: This is a fun way to get your kids to eat their important fruit servings, but use caution if your kids are super-sensitive to poison ivy as there might be a slight reaction from the mango skin. If you’re concerned they may have a reaction, peel back the skin where they will drink the juice. Most people who are allergic to mango skin can still enjoy the yummy mango flesh.
As a Snack
Mango Kabobs: Put a mango cube or two on a toothpick, dip in yogurt and enjoy!
Mango Icepops: Puree fresh cut mango in a blender or food processor. Pour into ice cube trays, stick in a popsicle stick or toothpick and freeze. Voila! Mango icepops!
Mango Bites: Press mini cookie cutters shaped like hearts, stars, circles or squares into wide slices of mango. Bite-sized mango shapes!
Mango Breakfast Smoothie: Make a tasty smoothie by mixing mango with low-fat yogurt and ice cubes in a blender.
Mango Roll Ups: Slice mango into thin strips and roll up a slice of deli meat, such as ham or turkey.
Mango Splash: Give any meal some color with fresh, bright yellow/orange mango. Drizzle mango puree over grilled or sautéed chicken, pork or fish. Toss mango chunks into a fruit salad or a green salad.
Mango Maniac: Mix chopped mango with vanilla frozen yogurt. Scoop into a ball, top with mango puree, and garnish with mango chunks skewered on toothpicks.
– See more at: http://www.mango.org/fun-ways-eat-mangos#sthash.dCsMppfU.dpuf