- The mango is known as the 'king of fruit' throughout the world.
- The name 'mango' is derived from the Tamil word 'mangkay' or 'man-gay'. When the Portuguese traders settled in Western India they adopted the name as 'manga'.
- Mangos originated in East India, Burma and the Andaman Islands bordering the Bay of Bengal. Around the 5th century B.C., Buddhist monks are believed to have introduced the mango to Malaysia and eastern Asia - legend has it that Buddha found tranquility and repose in a mango grove. Persian traders took the mango into the middle east and Africa, from there the Portuguese brought it to Brazil and the West Indies. Mango cultivars arrived in Florida in the 1830's and in California in the 1880's.
Most Americans consider the mango an exotic fruit with the taste of a peach and pineapple. Although it is popular in tropical areas it actually originated in Southeast Asia or India where it has been grown more than 4,000 years. Over the years mango groves have spread to many parts of the tropical and sub-tropical world, where the climate allows the mango to grow best. Mango trees are evergreens that will grow to 60 feet tall. The mango tree will fruit 4 to 6 years after planting. Mango trees require hot, dry periods to set and produce a good crop. Most of the mangos sold in the United States are imported from Mexico, Haiti, the Caribbean and South America. This fruit with its tropical taste also offers the highest amount of beta carotene of any fruit. (Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, 1992).
Today there more than 1,000 different varieties of mangos throughout the world. Mangos come in different shapes, sizes and coloring depending on the ripeness. The colors range from yellow to green to orange or red. They weigh as little as a few ounces up to a few pounds. All varieties have a very rich tropical flavor when ripe.