Mango's are back
Mango's are back! But is there something you don't know about them?
It’s that time of year when a lot of our favourite summer fruits are coming back into season, and delicious mangos have already started making appearances in the shops.
Mangos are a tropical fruit that are highly nutrient dense and taste sweet, with the outer skin or peel acting as a protective barrier for the soft component inside. Until a mango is ripe, this outer skin stays green, although then changes to shades of yellow, red or orange (depending on the type of mango you have).
The two questions I have been getting lately are;
Can I eat the skin of a mango? Can I freeze mangos?
So let’s get into these questions and find out if there is something that you may be missing out on when it comes to the mighty mango!
1. The quick answer is Yes and No.
Although vegetable or fruit skins are often discarded, mango being no exception here, the majority are edible and are packed with nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds.
Thus many people argue that you are missing out on the most nutritious part if you throw the skin away.
Mangos are known to be an excellent source of fibre, contain vitamins A,C,E and B6, and minerals potassium and copper. They are also a source of polyphenol and carotenoid antioxidants, which are plant compounds.
The flesh of mangos contains a number of these, however the mango skin is loaded with these beneficial nutrients, and in addition contains triterpenes and triterpenoids, compounds that have demonstrated antidiabetic and anticancer properties.
However, although nutritious, there are some risks associated with consuming the skin of mangos.
Mango skins can cause allergic reactions in some people due to urushiol, which is a organic chemical cocktail also found in poison ivy and poison oak. Thus if an individual is sensitive to poison ivy or other plants containing significant levels of urushiol, then they may experience symptoms such as an itchy rash or swelling of the skin.
Mangos skins may contain pesticide residue, as just like many fruits and vegetables they may be treated with pesticides to fight off insects and bacterial infections that may damage the fruit.
Peeling or cutting off the skin obviously reduces the likelihood of consuming any of these chemicals, however there is research that states some negative health effects linked to exposure, however these are usually associated with high pesticide exposure, and not usually from small amounts consumed from eating the skin of a fruit.
Why not try washing the skin gently and patting dry before consuming, to assist with reducing pesticide residue.
And the last but very obvious reason that people may not choose to eat the skin of a mango, the strange texture and taste.
While the flesh of a mango can be sweet and soft, the skin can be bitter and hard to chew, thus this may be the biggest reason that people choose to throw the skin out.
You can always give it a try. Eat it like an apple or pear – biting into the fruit, or you could add the whole fruit into a smoothie to make it more palatable.
So, should you eat it?
The skin is edible and packed with nutrients, however you may choose to way up if the potential benefits outweigh the negatives or drawbacks outlined above. Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables can assist with getting the same nutritional benefits as that of consuming mango skin.
2. Mangos can freeze.
As mangos aren’t available to us all year round, they are an excellent fruit to stock up and freeze for those months when they are not in season.
Simply remove the skin of the mango and slice the two cheeks into smaller pieces. Place the pieces in to a shallow casserole dish or baking tray and freeze until firm, may take 3-5 hours.
Once frozen, you can transfer mangos into airtight containers or ziplock bags and put them back in the freezer. They can last up to 10 months, so label with the current date and you are set to go.
Add them into your smoothies, in your breakfast bowl, or to drinks at any time of the year!