Mangoes Are Popular, Versatile

Once an exotic tropical fruit, the mango is now almost as common as the apple.

Mangoes appear in salsas, chutneys, smoothies and fruit salads as well as puddings, tarts and cakes. They are such a versatile fruit in cooking that their popularity continues to grow. They also are delicious eaten with no embellishment.

Mangoes are rich in nutrients and fiber. They also are an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamins A, C and D.
Mangoes have been cultivated in India – where the mango tree is considered sacred – since at least 2000 BC. Now the fruit is grown in temperate climates all over the world, including Florida and California.

Mangoes can be oblong or round and weigh from six ounces to four pounds. Their thin, tough, green skin turns yellow with red mottling as the fruit ripens. The flesh of the mango is bright orange and has a rich, sweet taste with a hint of lime.

When choosing mangoes, look for fruit with unblemished yellow skin with a red blush. Gently squeeze the nose of the fruit and, if there is a slight give, the mango is ripe. Mangoes can be stored in a cool place – but not refrigerated – for up to two weeks. The green, unripe fruit is used in the cooking of India, Malaysia and Thailand.

Mangoes are in season from May to September, but imported fruit is available sporadically throughout the year. In addition to their many uses in cooking, mangoes make a fine sandwich ingredient.

And a more versatile version of the sandwich is a wrap. Add some mango to a turkey wrap for a light summer lunch or dinner. It’s cool, refreshing and fast – three summer requirements.
Turkey lends itself particularly well to a variety of seasonings and condiments. It also is a meat that goes well with many fruits. Wrap thin slices of turkey, along with lots of thinly sliced vegetables, in a whole-wheat tortilla and you’re on your way to a healthful lunch.

The following recipe pairs turkey with mango in a light curried mayonnaise and, for a change, uses a pita pocket rather than a tortilla.

Turkey-Mango Pockets - Makes 4 servings.

2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup fat-free or reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. cooked turkey, cut up
2 cups cucumber, peeled, seed and cubed
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
4 whole-wheat pita pockets

Heat curry powder, stirring constantly, in a small skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer curry powder to small bowl. Stir in mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix seasoned mayonnaise with turkey, cucumber, mango, parsley and avocado. Put one-fourth of the mixture into each pita pocket.

Wraps can be made up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Bring back to room temperature before serving.

Per serving: 339 calories, 7 g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat), 49 g. carbohydrate, 25 g. protein, 8 g. dietary fiber, 498 mg. sodium.

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on diet and cancer and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $82 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its Web site, http://www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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