It’s Kent Mango Season!
Kent mangoes are one of the least fibrous of all mango varieties, and they are peak-of-the-season right now. The flesh is both tender and juicy; the flavor is intense and sweet.
Though mangoes were cultivated as far back as 5,000 years ago in India, the Kent mango has been in commercial production only since 1945. A cross between the Brooks and Haden mango, the first successful mango of this type was planted on Leith Kent’s property in Coconut Grove, Florida. Planted in the 1930s, it took a few years to bear fruit. Within a short time, it became a popular choice, thanks to its low fibrousness and high sugar content.
Choosing and Using
Kent mangoes are large, oval-shaped, and green, often with a reddish blush over one area of the fruit. Ripe mangoes will have a slight ‘give.’ If you buy them while still firm, they will ripen at room temperature. To slow down ripening, put them in the refrigerator.
Here are some ways you may enjoy Kent mangoes.
- Try them out of hand (slice lengthwise outside the pit, and scoop the flesh out with a spoon.
- Or try it Mexican-style: spear it at the bottom with a short skewer (a chopstick will do). Peel the skin in strips down from the top. Sprinkle the mango with salt, lime or chili powder alone or in combination. The salt, acid and heat of these seasonings makes a nice offset to the mild sweetness of the fruit.
- Try it in your next marinade. Thanks to the presence of protease, an enzyme that can break down protein, mangoes act as a natural tenderizer.
More About Mangoes
When we think of mangoes, we tend to think of smoothies, salsas or fruit salad. But the influence of mango extends much further: consider religion, medicine, and fashion:
- The Buddha is believed to have meditated in the peaceful shade of a mango tree.
- Traditional folk remedies use many parts of the mango: its skin, pit, bark and leaves.
- Take a look the next time you see a paisley print: it’s inspired by the shape of the mango.