The 22nd Annual Mango Melee is Sunday, July 8. Local artisans, entertainers, and food vendors will convene at the St. George Village Botanical Garden from noon to 6pm to celebrate Caribbean culture, food, drink, entertainment and, of course, mangoes! Mango Melee is a fabulous time to learn about the bounty of fruit grown on St. Croix, find art, jewelry and gifts made locally, indulge in pates, kabobs, cakes, ice cream and other local treats, sample local mango recipes, buy plants from the Garden Plant Sale, and peruse the beautiful botanical gardens. And we can’t forget the mango eating contest!
Affectionately known as the mango, Mangifera indica is a species of flowering plant in the cashew or sumac family, Anacardiaceae. The Mango is universally considered one of the finest fruits in the world and is likely a more important fruit in the tropics than is the apple in the temperate zone.
Fun Fact: More fresh mangoes are eaten around the world every day than any other fruit.
The Mango is indigenous to the Indo-Burma region and has been cultivated in India for more than 5,000 years. The cashew, pistachio, plum and golden apple are related plant family members.
Fun Fact: The oldest living mango tree is 300 years old and still produces fruit!
Mangoes come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. There are more than 300 varieties worldwide, the most popular on St. Croix being the Kidney, Julie, Manzano and some of the Florida varieties.
Fun Fact: The classic paisley pattern is actually based on the shape of a mango.
Some hold that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was the mango, not an apple. The skin blends colors of red, purple, pink, orange, yellow and green, and the heady fragrance fills a room. The sweet golden flesh combines notes of peach, pineapple, honey, kiwi, melon, and citrus, and melts in your mouth. The complex flavor of a good, ripe mango is sensual and tempting, enough to make you swoon!
Fun Fact: Giving someone a basket of mangoes is considered a gesture of friendship. We certainly appreciate our friends who share their mangoes!
The mango fruit is often eaten fresh yet can be frozen, dried, canned or cooked in jams, jellies, preserves, pies, chutney and ice cream. They’re also a popular ingredient in smoothies. The Mango Dis Mango Dat competition at Mango Melee features many favorite St. Croix mango recipes.
The nutritional value depends on the the variety and maturity of the fruit. When a mango is green and still growing, there is a high vitamin C content. As the fruit ripens and matures, the amount of vitamin A increases. The fruit contains fair levels of thiamine (vitamin B1) and niacin (vitamin B3), has 10-20% sugar, and is a good source of natural fiber.
Click for more fun facts about mangoes and some mango smoothie recipes.