This sweet, juicy tropical fruit varies in shape, size, flavor and texture depending on the variety and the region in which it's grown. There are over 1,000 different mango varieties cultivated around the world ranging in size from 6 ounces to 4 pounds, in texture from soft and pulpy to firm to slightly fibrous, and in color from green, yellow, orange, and red.
Mangos are cultivated in temperate climates around the world, including India, China, Southeast Asia, and South America, as well as California and Florida. The most common mangos available in the U.S have a tough, thin skin that starts out green and becomes yellow with red mottling as the fruit ripens. Their fragrant flesh is deep orange and extremely juicy with an exotic, sweet-tart flavor.
Green mango is the tart, unripe fruit used in various salads and vegetable dishes, as well as to tenderize meat.
These small, luscious, golden mangos are the sweetest you'll find-truly the Champagne of their species. Their flesh is dense, smooth, string-free, creamy, and easy to cut away from the slim pits. Their flavor is floral like wildflower honey, with a hint of tartness for balance. Grab them in the summer when they're at their juicy best. Before they were marketed under the name Champagne mangos, these fruits were called ataulfo mangos, after a man named Ataulfo Morales. He discovered trees growing small, sweet mangos on land he bought in Chiapas, Mexico, in the 1950s. They quickly became popular in the region, and a local agronomist determined that they were descended from mangos brought over by Filipino settlers. For years they were just a local treat-their thin skin made shipping difficult. But as transportation technology has improved, Champagne mangos have spread to the United States. They're still primarily grown in Mexico.
The skins of Champagne mangos change from light green to golden yellow as the fruit ripens. Ripe fruits will feel soft under gentle pressure; you can speed ripening by placing them in a paper bag at room temperature for a few days. When cut into, a ripe Champagne mango should have golden flesh. If it looks gray or black, it means the fruit was kept too cold in transport and rotted.
Showcase Champagne mangos' luscious texture in sweet or savory salads, salsas, or ceviches. They also make a refreshing sweet-tart addition to drinks and desserts like sorbets and puddings. Sweet and a little tangy, Champagne mangos pair wonderfully with fish, poultry, and pork. Warm spices like cardamom and clove balance their bright flavor. They're great with tangy ingredients such as citrus fruits and berries. Rich, creamy avocados also highlight their flavor.
Look for fruit with smooth, unblemished, yellow skin blushed with red. A ripe mango is firm but should yield slightly when pressed.
Allow underripe fruit to ripen in a paper bag at room temperature. Ripe mangos can be stored in a plastic bag and held in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.