Darlene is a professional writer, voice-over and performing arts specialist
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Yes, it’s that time of year again, South Florida. Time for the sweet, sultry, sun-kissed sensation of mangos – the world’s most popular fruit! Now, maybe you’re overloaded, tired of picking up the bucket loads that fall, stepping on them or maybe even getting them mushed under your feet as you step outside, but oh, there is so much history, splendor and flavor to these juicy nuggets of nectar!
As a matter of fact, these yumptious gems are considered the King of Fruit throughout the world and one of the world’s most interesting fruits. With their intriguing beginnings in India more than 5,000 years ago, mangos are part of many cultural traditions and folklore. Designs of the fruit, flowers and leaves of the mango tree are still found in Buddhist and Hindu temples throughout India; and the ‘Paisley’ design, an extremely popular design in the sixties, is based on the mango.
Now, let’s talk party because every luscious treasure deserves a celebration. There are several festivals throughout the season from the Northwood Mango Festival in West Palm Beach to MangoMania in Cape Coral, to the 25th Annual International Mango Festival in Miami. Enjoy cooking demonstrations, recipes, mango infused drinks and food, even music. Many patrons and participants bring their own homegrown mangos and compare with others. You might be amazed at how many varieties there are including, Honey, Chaunsa and Madame Francique. And let’s not forget Hollywood’s own Mango IPA from Hollywood Brewing Company, because this time of year it’s all about the mango.
No story is complete without the love, so let’s get to it.
A Hindu legend tells the story of the mango tree growing from the ashes of the sun princess, who had been incinerated by an evil sorceress. The Emperor fell in love with the mango flower and subsequently its fruit. When the mango ripened and fell to the ground, the beautiful sun princess emerged. Thus, the mango has become a symbol of love in India, and a basket of mangos is considered a gesture of friendship. The mango tree plays a sacred role in India. Some believe it can grant wishes, and hanging fresh mango leaves outside the front door during the Hindu New Year is considered a blessing for the house.
In the midst of mango season here in Hollywood, sometimes it’s easy to look passed the blessings as another one hits the dirt or squishes under your foot, but if you look up, they are truly like manna from heaven.
This exotic fruit not only makes the best frozen drinks and shakes, they are also an excellent source of vitamins C and A, both important antioxidant nutrients, and they are high in fiber. Mangos contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals and scored 100 on the recently introduced NuVal scoring system for overall nutritional quality.
Enjoy these delicious fruits in drinks, shakes, salads, main dishes, or just by themselves. Rumor has it you’ll find them simply divine.