I love this time of year when my beloved mangoes are readily and affordably available by the case. But if I had one complaint about mangoes, it would be the stringy flesh. And if I had another complaint, it would be the large pit. Not that I am complaining, because I would pick a mango over most any other fruit. But if there were a way to improve on the nearly perfect, the answer would be the Ataulfo. Also known as a ‘Honey’ or ‘Manila’ mango, the Ataulfo variety is sweeter than your average mango, with non-fibrous flesh and a thin pit. While the ‘S’ shaped Ataulfo is smaller in size, its flavour is full and rich. A ripened Ataulfo boasts a beautiful, bright, golden yellow skin that gives to gentle pressure. Slight wrinkling of the skin is a good indicator of some juicy sweetness waiting inside. To ripen an Ataulfo, keep at room temperature for several days, or place in a plastic bag overnight with an apple or banana to speed up the process. Once ripened, it can be stored in the fridge for about a week – if you can last that long. The mango originated in Southeast Asia where it has been grown for over 4,000 years, although most mangoes found in North American markets are imported from Mexico and South America. While mangoes are definitely delicious, they can also be messy. I find the best way to prepare when eating fresh is to slice the fruit in half, cutting around the pit in the middle. Score the inside flesh into cubes and gently invert the skin. You can either scoop out the cubes with a spoon for adding to fruit salads or delve in and devour as is. Mango can be used in place of peaches, nectarines or papaya, and added to chutneys, juices, smoothies or poultry dishes. But mine never seem to make it that far. With just over 100 calories per fruit, Ataulfo mangoes are a good source of fibre and Vitamins A, C and B6. As with other mango varieties, they also contain enzymes that aid in digestion. Now, if I had just one complaint about the Ataulfo mango, it would be that I’ve only seen them sold as singles. But I’ll keep searching for boxes, just in case.
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