We had the first fresh mangoes on the weekend. So I guess we’ve declared it to be SUMMER.
The mango is widely considered to be THE summer fruit in Australia. 23 Million Australians enjoy about 8 million trays of mango every year.
Last year was even a record year of 9.5 million trays but we’re already told that the national crop will be down due to troubles with flowering and a late season.
The juicy stone fruit originates in Malaya and eastern Asia, where Buddhist monks took mango plants on voyages as early as the 4th and 5th centuries BC. By the 10th century AD Persian traders had taken the fruit to the Middle East and East Africa, and on Portugese ships it made its way to India, South America, the Philippines and West Africa. The mango arrived in Australia in the 1800s and has been cultivated commercially throughout tropical and subtropical areas around the world ever since.
In fact, the mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines, and the national tree of Bangladesh, where it even gets a mention in the national anthem “The fragrance from your mango groves/Makes me wild with joy,/Ah, what a thrill.”
I read that the EU contemplated a ban on the import of Indian mangoes last year, due to them not meeting their health and hygiene regulations. Seeing that India only accounts for less than 1% of the international trade even though they are worldwide the largest producer, I suspect they might not be too worried.
Apparently all things mango are the third national obsession in India, alongside cricket and Bollywood.
In Australia mangoes are grown in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.
The mango harvest is made up of several varieties “Kensington Pride” is the most common (65%), followed by Calypso™ (20%), “R2E2” (6%), Honey Gold™ (4%) and Keitt (3%). 92% of the Australian crop are consumed in Australia, 95% as fresh fruit and the rest in the food processing sector. Only 8% are exported.
Traditionally, the first tray of mangoes is sold at the annual Brisbane Mango Auction at the Brisbane Markets in late September/early October, and all proceeds go to charity. This year’s winning bid of $30.000 was split between Diabetes Australia and Life Education Queensland.
Ah mangoes. They are best eaten fresh, and straight from the fridge. Nothing more refreshing on a hot summers day than a mango hedgehog. However, as they don’t last long (because they don’t last long, and because they DON’T last long) I have always a pack of frozen fruit in the freezer, for smoothies. Yum Yum Yum