This time of year brings many transitions from one mango variety to another.
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Ataulfos have a very small seed, so there is a high flesh to seed ratio.
Flavor: Sweet and creamy
Texture: Smooth, firm flesh with no fibers
Color: Vibrant yellow
Shape: Small, flattened oval shape
Ripening Cues: Skin turns to a deep golden color and small wrinkles appear when fully ripe. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.
Peak Availability: March to July
Primary Source Country: Mexico
WatchChef Allen use the Ataulfo mango in his Mango and Watermelon Salad recipe.
The Francis grows on small farms throughout Haiti.
Flavor: Rich, spicy and sweet
Texture: Soft, juicy flesh with fibers
Color: Bright yellow skin with green overtones
Shape: Oblong and sigmoid S-shape
Ripening Cues: Green overtones diminish and the yellow becomes more golden as the Francis ripens. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.
Peak Availability: May to July
Primary Source Country: Haiti
WatchChef Allen use the Francis mango in his Very Mango Chutney recipe.
The fruiting of the Haden mango in 1910 inspired the creation of a large-scale mango industry in South Florida. The industry has since then been greatly reduced by the impact of development and hurricanes.
Flavor: Rich, with aromatic overtones
Texture: Firm flesh due to fine fibers
Color: Bright red with green and yellow overtones and small white dots
Shape: Medium to large with an oval to round shape
Ripening Cues: Green areas of the mango turn to yellow as it ripens.
Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.
Peak Availability: April and May
Primary Source Country: Mexico
WatchChef Allen use the Haden mango in his Mango Coconut Chicken recipe.
Keitts are popular in Asian cultures, where they are enjoyed in its mature-green stage or even as pickles.
Flavor: Sweet and fruity
Texture: Firm, juicy flesh with limited fibers
Color: Dark to medium green, sometimes with a pink blush over a small portion of the mango
Shape: Large oval shape
Ripening Cues: Skin stays green even when ripe. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.
Peak Availability: August and September
Primary Source Countries: Mexico, United States
WatchChef Allen use the Keitt mango in his Mango Mojo Shrimp recipe.
Originating from Florida in the 1940’s, Kents are ideal mangos for juicing and drying.
Flavor: Sweet and rich
Texture: Juicy, tender flesh with limited fibers
Color: Dark green and often has a dark red blush over a small portion of the mango
Shape: Large oval shape
Ripening Cues: Kents have yellow undertones or dots that cover more of the mango as it ripens. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.
Peak Availability: January to March and June to August
Primary Source Countries: Mexico, Ecuador, Peru
WatchChef Allen use the Kent mango in his Mango Bread recipe.
Hailing originally from Florida, Tommy Atkins is the most widely grown commercial variety coming into the United States.
Flavor: Mildly and sweet
Texture: Firm flesh due to fibers throughout
Color: A dark red blush often covers much of the fruit with green and orange-yellow accents
Shape: Medium to large with oval or oblong shape
Ripening Cues: This mango may not provide any visual cues. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.
Peak Availability: March to July and October to January
Primary Source Countries: Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru
WatchChef Allen use the Tommy Atkins mango in his Mango-Lime Grilled Swordfish recipe.
Although the six varieties above represent the most common mango varieties available in the U.S. marketplace, there are a few others you might find as well. With hundreds of varieties the possibilities are endless!
Mangos are grown in tropical climates all over the world. The mangos we buy here in the U.S. come mostly from Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and Haiti. Fortunately for us, these countries harvest their mango crops at different times of the year, which means we get to enjoy mangos all year round. The mango year has two seasons, one in the spring/summer and one in the fall/winter. The two seasons overlap to provide a year-round supply.
The mango year has two seasons, one in the spring/summer and one in the fall/winter. The two seasons overlap to provide a year-round supply. Although close to 70% of the total mango volume is shipped to the United States in the spring and summer, there is a distinct peak in both seasons.
Mangos have been grown in the U.S. for a little more than a century, but commercial, large-scale production here is limited. Because mangos need a tropical climate to flourish, only Florida, California, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico grow mangos. Many mango varieties have been cultivated in South Florida, as part of a seedling program initiated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and spearheaded by David Fairchild, founder of USDA's Section of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction. The program focused on introducing mango varieties to the region, with the goal of producing mangos that could be exported.
Today, many of the popular varieties of mango grown around the world were derived from this program in Florida, including the Tommy Atkins, Haden, Keitt, and Kent. In fact, the Haden was a seedling of the Mulgoba, a seedling brought to Florida by the USDA from India during the late 1800s.
Fairchild Tropical Gardens, named after David Fairchild, continues to cultivate mango varieties and work with mango growers all over the world. Fairchild is known for its annual International Mango Festival, which draws thousands of mango lovers each year to its Miami-area location in a celebration of all things mango. For more information on David Fairchild, and the Fairchild Tropical Gardens, visit http://www.fairchildgarden.org.