According to one belief, Buddha’s revelations came to him under a mango tree, and this fruit was presented to the world as blessing.
Named by the Portuguese, who went to India in the 15th century, Mango was then introduced to Australia, the Philippines and West Africa.
It was taken to Florida in 1833 and adapted well to this region before being introduced to Brazil, Ecuador, West Indian Indies, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico. Although it is native to China, mango became popular after 1958 during Mao’s rule and became the symbol of agricultural labourers.
Unripe mango is used for making juice and pickles, while ripe mangoes are used to produce juice, nectar, ice cream, jelly, cocktail, yoghurt and sauce. Also, it is widely used as dried mango slices and powder. Along with being a rich source of nutrients, mango is a delicious condiment accompanying especially to meat dishes.
With almost 45 million tons of production, mango is the 5th most cultivated fruit in the world. India is the largest mango producer with a production of 15 million tons, followed by China with 4 million tons, Thailand with 2.6 million tons of production.
Flavouring Southeast Asian cuisine, mango accompanies meals, salads, soups and grilled meat. Sour and unripe mangos are used for making mango chutney, which is a spicy condiment in Indian cuisine. Mangoes are processed as juice, dried fruit, powder and puree creating a sub-industry that contributes to national economies of the producer countries. Canned mango puree is particularly in demand among developed countries.
Mango adds zest and flavour to milk puddings, pies, cookies, along being used as jams and marmalades.
Mango contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphor, pro-vitamin A, and vitamins C and B. Research have shown that many compounds found in mango have good efficacy in cancer prevention against colon, breast and prostate cancer types and, leukaemia.
Moreover, mango boosts the immune system and protects against infections thanks to its content of vitamin C and carotenoids.
Mangoes are generally harvested when they reach their maximum size before ripening starts. After harvest, mangoes are treated with heat in order to prevent infestations of fruit fly and disinfect some fungus types. This treatment is carried out by heating mangoes in a special liquid at 46°C — 53°C (114.8–127.4°F). Since the heat induces ripening, mangoes should rapidly be cooled.
Varied by cultivar, mangoes can only be stored for 3–4 weeks when stored in a temperature-controlled storage at 8°C — 14 °C (46.40–57.20°F).
It has been found that the length and quality of storage can be improved by the use of the combination of Modified Atmosphere Packaging and 1-MCP applications.
However, storage duration is longer in Controlled Atmosphere cold storage working with the method of ULO (Ultra Low Oxygen). These methods do not require modified atmosphere packaging and increases the storage duration up to 6–7 weeks.
Cold chain should definitely be functioning properly from harvest to the market, as mangoes are very fragile fruits. Among orchard fruits, only mangoes are transported by plane. The main reason for this is that they can be sold up to 10 US dollars on the retail markets of the developed countries.
Being one of the staple foods and vitamin source of tropical regions, mangoes are only recently becoming popular in developed markets such as Europe, Russia and the United States.
It is not difficult to foresee that mangoes will have a strong hold on these markets with its amazing aroma and new varieties developed for longer storage.