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Apple mangoes are medium to large in size, averaging 9 to 11 centimeters in diameter, and have a round to ovate shape with curved ends. The fruits are generally sold in commercial markets when they are 280 to 580 grams in weight, and the skin is smooth, thin, and taut with a light, waxy feel. When young, the skin appears bright green, with brown-black and light green spots speckled across the surface. As the fruit matures, the waxy nature lessens, and the skin develops a golden yellow hue, blushed with red hues if exposed to direct sunlight. Unripe, green Apple mangoes are firm, crisp, and fine-grained, encasing a flat seed in the center. Ripe Apple mango flesh transforms into a rich, golden-yellow hue with an aqueous, tender, and fiber-free texture. Apple mangoes are tart and sour when young, becoming sweet and subtly tangy with tropical and fruity, berry-like nuances when ripe.
Apple mangoes are available year-round in tropical climates, with a peak season from December through April.
Apple mangoes, botanically classified as Mangifera indica, are a distinct species belonging to the Anacardiaceae family. The round fruits grow on evergreen trees reaching 1 to 4 meters in height and are a popular commercial variety grown throughout Southeast Asia and Kenya. Apple mangoes received their fruity moniker from their round shape reminiscent of apples. The mangoes can also be consumed ripe or unripe, bearing a crunchy, apple-like consistency when young and firm. Growers favor Apple mangoes for their hardiness, disease resistance, and productivity. Apple mango trees begin producing fruits after 3 to 4 years, and each tree can produce around 150 fruits in a single season. Ripe Apple mangoes naturally detach from the tree when mature, and the fruits are sold locally in domestic markets and exported to other countries. In retail markets, Apple mangoes are purchased in their ripe and unripe stages and are incorporated into fresh and cooked culinary preparations.
Apple mangoes are a source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, fiber to regulate the digestive tract, and potassium to balance fluid levels within the body. The variety also provides vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, vitamin E to protect the cells against free radical damage, and other nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin K, folate, and iron.
Apple mangoes are a versatile variety utilized in their unripe and ripe stages for raw and cooked preparations. Green Apple mangoes have a firm and crunchy consistency and a sour, vegetal taste. The variety is traditionally used in rujak buah, a raw fruit salad popular in Southeast Asia. Rujak buah is comprised of belacan, a dry shrimp paste, and tamarind juice, palm sugar, salt, and chile peppers. Green Apple mangoes can also be incorporated into curries, soups, and relishes or pickled as a tangy condiment. Ripe Apple mangoes have a succulent, tender consistency and sweet, tropical taste. The fruits can be dipped in chili sauces as a sweet and spicy snack or eaten straight out of hand. Ripe Apple mangoes can also be skewered with pork as a main dish, chopped into salsa and chutney, or cooked into sauces for roasted meats. In addition to savory preparations, Apple mangoes can be served with sticky rice, frozen and blended into sorbet, or sliced and added to sago pudding, a refreshing dessert in Southeast Asia. Apple mangoes can also be incorporated into smoothies or added to juices for a tropical taste. Apple mangoes pair well with fruits such as coconut, pineapple, peaches, and bananas, aromatics including garlic, onions, and shallots, and meats such as pork, beef, and poultry. Whole, unwashed Apple mangoes can be stored at room temperature until ripe. Once mature, the fruits will keep up to five days when placed in the refrigerator.
In Kenya, Apple mangoes are a favored ingredient in fresh, raw preparations heavily influenced by other cultures. One of the most popular preparations is known as mango fool, a dessert consisting of chilled pureed mangoes folded into whipped cream. Fool is a simple dessert with origins in Britain. The recipe was introduced to Kenya when it was under British rule in the late 19th and 20th centuries, and since its introduction, the dish has been adopted into Kenyan cuisine. Kenyan madras is a mango chutney served as an accompaniment to baijas, a beloved street food of fried potatoes. This dish was inspired by the British and also recipes that Indian workers once prepared when they lived in Kenya to work on the railroads in the late 1890s. The battered and fried potatoes are customarily dipped into the sweet and spicy chutney for a vibrant, on-the-go snack.
The history of Apple mangoes is still being determined as there are two leading theories to the variety's origins. The first theory links Apple mangoes to Southeast Asia, where the variety is popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. In Malaysia, Apple mangoes were registered in the National Variety Plant Listing under the Department of Agriculture in 1973. The variety also reached peak popularity in Malaysia in the 1980s, favored for its productive nature and versatility. The second theory ties Apple mangoes to Kenya. Mangoes were introduced to Kenya in the 14th century by slave and ivory traders, and after their introduction, mangoes were cultivated along the Kenyan coast. Approximately sixty mango cultivars are produced in Kenya, and Apple mangoes are one of the two major varieties commercially produced and exported. Some sites claim Apple mangoes were developed from a chance seedling discovered in the Malindi area along the Kenyan coastline. Mango production in Kenya reached full-scale production in the late 1990s, and many of the varieties are exported to Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines, which in turn send the fruits to Singapore. Regardless of their origins, Apple mangoes are prevalent and commercially produced in Kenya and Southeast Asia. The fruits are sold through fresh markets, select grocers, and distributors.