Mangoes have proven over time to be much more than basic fruit. The most consumed fresh fruit in the world, mangoes are a link to exotic, tropical places where the sun creates a pure magical delicacy.HistoryHistory
The mango tree, Magifera Indica, was first recorded in Asia around 2000 BC with the mango considered native to southern Asia, especially Burma and eastern India. Around the 5th century B.C., Buddhist monks brought it to Malaya.
The mango was spread to the middle east by Persian traders in ancient times, and from there was introduced into Africa in the 16th century and then to Brazil and the West Indies in the 1700’s aboard Portugese ships.
In the 1860’s, mango cultivars were introduced into Southern California and Florida where an imported grafted variety from India called “Mulgoa” (or Mulgoba) was used as the basis for the commencement of local commercial production.
The Australian Kensington Mango
In the latter half of the 19th century Bowen, in North Queensland, was the centre of a thriving horse trading business between North Queensland and India. The crews of the ships coming in from India bought many items back with them, including mangoes.
The Bowen Harbourmaster and Customs Officer at the time, Mr GE Sandrock, collected a quanity of mango seeds from the sailors and planted them on his property “Woodlands” just outside Bowen. As this initial stock came into fruit, seeds from the better quality and better producing trees were separately collected and Mr Sandrock gave these to a friend of his, Mr McDonald, who planted them on his property at Adelaide Point near Bowen.
A local farmer, Mr Harry Lott, selected a good stringless type of fruit from McDonald’s harvests and used the seeds to start a small orchard on his property, “Kensington”, in the late 1880’s.
Mr Lott found that his mango variety sold well at the local markets due its smooth stringless flesh, and attempted to monopolise the variety. Other local growers unfortunately got hold of seeds by fair and foul means, and within a few years this style of mango was widely distributed through the Bowen and Burdekin regions.
The name “Kensington” has remained although this variety is also called “Bowen Special”. It is easily identifiable by its large, bright orange colour, often with a red blush, and its deep orange flesh that is free of fibrous strands
- Mangoes are harvested from September to March with the peak of the season being from November to January.
- A mango tree doesn’t produce fruit until it’s about four years old
- Mangoes belong to the same family as the cashew and the pistachio nut8
Culture And Religion
Mangoes also have an important role in culture and religion. The people of Latin America eat mangoes as people in Western countries eat apples, and consider the fruit a healthy staple. While in season, cubed mangoes are served every morning for breakfast and “mango licuado”, a mango shake, offers refreshing relief from steamy temperatures. Jamaicans refer to their loved one as their “sweet juicy mango”.
India considers the mango its national fruit, and a divine one at that. They use mangoes in magic and rituals, in riddles and proverbs, in medicine, in religion, and they have mango festivals and use the mango tree in weddings. Ancient Indian sages prescribed planting the mango for the salvation of souls, and the mango plays a role in Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Animism religions.
Health Benefits US Natural Health Research claims that a mango contains 1-3 times your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C and beta-carotene – a cancer fighting antioxidant. Mangoes also contain all 4 recognised anti-oxidants (namely vitamin A, Vitamin C & E and Selenium) that aid in the prevention of Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes – the three biggest killers in the Western world.
Additionally, Mangoes contain a water soluble fibre which helps prevent cancer of the digestive tract along with all the important B complex (anti–stress) vitamins and the all important minerals such as Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Folic acid, Selenium. When ripe mangoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, Beta-Carotene and other related Carotenoids. The deeper the colour of our flesh, the higher the Carotenoid level
And for the weight conscious – An average 200g mango (weighed with skin and stone) has 330kJ. 100g of the flesh has 235kJ Mangoes can even help your sex life!! Containing about 3.5 mg of Vitamin E in each average Mango this nutrient helps the hormonal system to function efficiently…this could be where the legend of ‘E’ in sex comes from!!