The Queen of All Fruits – Champagne Mango

champagne-mango-fruit-recipesSurprising but true: mangoes are the #1 most-consumed fruit in the world. More than apples, more than bananas, more than pears or strawberries or anything else you could think of. Mangoes are still somewhat exotic in the U.S., but they’re everyday fare in most of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and large parts of Africa and Asia.

The champagne mango – also called the ataulfo mango or yellow mango – is smaller and more teardrop-shaped than the round, ruddy mangoes Americans are used to seeing. To my taste buds, champagne mangoes are also sweeter and more richly flavored than standard mangoes. As one of the produce stockers at my favorite market recently said, “Once you’ve had a champagne mango, there’s no point in going back to the other kind.”

Another plus is that champagne mangoes have smaller, flatter pits than their more-round counterparts, so that despite being smaller, champagne mangoes have a higher ratio of edible flesh. They aren’t in season all year around the way rosy-cheeked mangoes are, though – you’ll only find champagne mangoes from March through September. Like standard mangoes, gauge the ripeness of champagne mangoes by sniffing them to see how fragrant they are (the more fragrant, the better) and checking the stem end to see if there’s a bit of weeping going on (that’s a good sign). Avoid mangoes with wrinkled skin, ones that are rock-hard, or mangoes that show signs of bruising or splitting.

In short, if you find champagne mangoes, snap them up! You can use them the way you’d use a standard mango: in desserts, in cereal, in fruit salads, in smoothies, in stir-frys, in ice cream, in custards…you’ll never run out of ways to use a mango. Especially these mangoes!

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