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Alphonso mangoes are small and somewhat egg-shaped. They grow suspended from long stems on evergreen leafy trees. When immature, the soft yellow skin will retain spots of green. When fully ripe, the deeper saffron-hued skin may have a blush of red, but no green color will remain. Alphonso mangoes have very thin skins, so many are hand-harvested to protect the fruit. The aroma of Alphonso mangoes is very intense due to the presence of high levels of myrcene, a kind of terpenoid, a naturally occurring chemical in plants responsible for flavor and aroma. The Indian mangoes have a sharply sweet flavor along with more mellow tropical flavors. The flesh is non-fibrous, with a smooth texture unlike some mango varieties.
Alphonso mangoes are available for a short time during the summer.
Alphonso mangoes are an Indian variety of Mangifera indica, highly praised for its sweetness. In India, they are known as the “King of Mangos” for their flavor and texture. There are multiple cultivars of the Alphonso mango, some more distinct than others primarily due to growing conditions in their specific geographic regions. Alphonso mangoes have been popular in the United Kingdom ever since they were shipped to London for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in London. The fruit is in high demand in the UK during its brief season in the summer.
Alphonso mangoes, like all mangoes contain high amounts of potassium and magnesium. In addition to being packed with many essential vitamins, mangoes contain enzymes that aid in digestion.
Alphonso mangoes can be eaten fresh, sliced or pureed for a variety of other applications. Diced mangoes can be added to fruit salads or green salads for an addition of color and flavor. Puree Alphonso mangoes for beverages and desserts. Add mango to green smoothies for flavor and a healthy boost.
A traditional way of eating Alphonso mangoes in India is pureed and mixed with milk or cream and then used as a dipping sauce for a type of baked pastry, similar to a donut hole or fritter.
Alphonso mangoes were introduced to India by the Portuguese military strategist Afonso de Albuquerque, who explored the region and helped establish a Portuguese colony in western India during the 15th century. Alphonso mangoes grow primarily in the states of Goa and Maharashtra along the western coast of India, and only with very particular soil and weather requirements. Because the Alphonso mango requires the perfect conditions to grow, the variety is subject to limited availability and the occasional poor season.