Just about any mango you grow yourself is far superior to supermarket mangos. Why?
“Just about any” means a few varieties in the store are good. Any that are grown in your own country might be good. But most are grown overseas and they have many strikes against them before they start.
- Many people who say they don’t like mangos have only had them from the supermarket. Most commercial mangos in the USA are the variety Tommy Atkins or related. These are the large, mostly red, oval shaped mangos. They are beautiful fruit with great eye appeal, they ship and store well, the tree is very productive and disease resistent. Qualities growers especially like. Unfortunately, they can be fibrous (stringy), and not the best flavor available.
Some people grow their good mangos in back and Tommy in the front yard and so they can tell passers-by who ask for samples: “sure, take all you want.”
- Mangos that are shipped from oversees must be picked way too early or they will spoil before they get to the shelves. That means they can never develop the ideal sugar content and flavor. Strike two.
- All imported mangos must be disease and insect free, so by US law they must be either irradiated or heat treated. Consumers object to irradiation. Growers don’t like it either because the equipment is expensive and the process is complicated. That leaves heating the fruit to be sure there are no disease spores or insect pests. The heating requirement is a water bath at least 115°F for at least 90 minutes. Essentially cooking them. Strike 3.
- What is left after
cookingheating mangos is a fairly colorless fruit, so they are then treated with ethylene gas to bring back the red color. Also heating increases stringiness and reduces flavor.
- You can now better understand why store bought mangos can be disappointing. I used to think it was my fault: maybe I picked up the wrong piece of fruit, or I didn’t wait quite long enough or waited too long to eat it.
- And now you know why if you grow your own mangos, even a Tommy Atkins, it will be far superior to store bought. Whether you grow a low fiber (a little more durable) or fiber-free mango (more delicate and harder to ship), you will enjoy it much more, and you can get so many wonderful flavors.
- If you don’t have a yard, or live in an HOA that doesn’t allow you to plant fruit trees in the yard (who makes those rules?), try growing a Pickering mango in a container. It is a naturally slow growing dwarf tree that can fruit in a large pot, easily kept at 6 feet tall. Plus the tree starts fruiting unusually quickly after planting, is very prolific, and the flavor is a wonderful coconut/mango mix. Pickering is small enough and good enough that every mango lover should have one, even if you only have a balcony.