The delicious and juicy mango has long been one of the world’s most popular fruits. The fruit’s flavor is often described as an exotic mix of pineapple and peach. Mangoes are available from April to September, but June and July usually offer the best pick and prices. Mangoes have been found to combat cancer, boost memory, regulate the thyroid, aid in digestion and shield against Alzheimer’s. Thought to be native to India, mangoes have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. The tree is related to the pistachio and cashew and grows to an average of 50 feet in height. Each tree produces about 100 mangoes. If you haven’t tried a fresh mango, you’re in for a treat. When buying a mango, make sure it has a tropical fruity aroma, unripe mangoes have no scent. A fresh mango will give slightly to the touch, but stay away from very soft or bruised fruit. Some mangoes ripen to a combination of raspberry, orange and green shades, while other varieties are golden yellow or green when ripe. The size can vary, but larger mangoes will have more fruit in relation to the pit. Or, without peeling, cut the fruit from the cheeks, as described above, score the flesh into squares about 1/2-to 3/4-inch in size, cutting to, but not through, the skin. Gently push the mango cheek inside out, pushing the fruit cubes up and apart. Cut chunks from the skin to serve. Cut fresh mangoes lengthwise, along the pit. Once you learn to locate the mango pit, the rest is easy. The long, 1/2-to 3/4-inch thick pit runs the length of the fruit between the two plump cheeks. Cup the mango in your palm, then peel the skin from the flesh with a small, sharp knife. Cut through the mango lengthwise down the side of the pit until its fleshy cheek is cut off. Do the same for the other side. Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature to ripen, which may take up to one week. A paper bag might help them ripen sooner but they will not ripen at temperatures below 55 degrees F. Ripe mangoes can be kept in the refrigerator from up to two weeks, or they can be frozen, dried, cooked in syrup or pureed. Mango Tango Smoothie 1 cup mango, peeled and diced 1 cup plain or vanilla nonfat yogurt cup crushed ice milk, optional Place mango, yogurt and ice in a blender or food processor and blend or process. If too thick, add a little milk. Makes two servings. Next week: Papaya Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com.