Mangos are one of those fruits that just feel like a special occasion when you’re having one. When ripe it’s incredibly sweet, their texture is unlike most other fruits we normally eat.
When we add it to our salads or recipes, it just makes your dish just feel that little more exotic.
Originally coming from Southeast Asia, they have been a cornerstone of both food and culture for countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar for centuries, before they were introduced to the Middle East and North Africa by Persian and Arabian traders in the 9th and 10th century AD.
Since then, they’ve taken the rest of the world by storm, being grown wherever a seafaring power with ambition in their sails and mangos below deck would make land and form a colony.
These fruits happen to be quite the globe-trotting travelers!
Because they have been grown for so many centuries and in so many places, with lots of different types of mango being created and grown along the way, also known as cultivars by many in the botanical world.
They can have all sorts of variety to them.
Some have deep red skin, whilst others are bright green. Some have a soft, smooth pulp, while others can have a rough, fibrous texture to bite down on.
There are bitter flavored mangos, alongside their much sweeter counterparts. It can be hard to find variety for you.
That’s what this guide is for: To help you tell apart one type of cultivar from another. We’ll be going through a whole range of different mangos, with a little helpful information to go with them: Where they are from and grown, how the plants grow.
And, of course, we’ll be talking about the mangos themselves, and what details make them different from each other.
Being grown mainly in Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru, this variety of mango is protected by the Mexican Institute of Industrial property, meaning that technically speaking, this variety of mango is meant to only be grown in Mexico, much like certain cheeses can only be officially made or sold in certain areas.
The plant, much like other kinds of mangos, is a subtropical fruit that grows best in soil with good drainage, and with access to direct sunlight all year round.
This is why most places that grow this fruit will be on the equator, if not very close to the tropics.
The fruit itself is a bright, almost lemon, shade of yellow. They also tend to be a bit smaller than other mangos, too. With no fiber to be found inside, this cultivar has a very sweet and creamy texture to its pulp.
Originally being grown from a type of Haden mango in Florida in the early 20th century, Tommy Atkins mangos are the most widely sold variety of mango sold in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The plant is generally much like other mango plants, being ideally grown in warm temperatures with good soil drainage, but this plant has noticeably strong resistance to fungal infection.
This is probably what was so appealing to mango farmers, and why it is so widely sold these days.
The fruit itself is a unique mixture of purplish-red to dark greens, making for a quite unique-looking fruit. Tommy Atkins is quite fibrous when compared to other varieties, as well as generally being less flavorful than other cultivars.
But, it does have a remarkably long shelf-life when compared to other mangos and can be transported and handled quite well across great distances, as the fruit does not easily bruise or spoil.
Another mango cultivar from Florida in the 20th century, this type of mango plant tends to produce fruit later in the season, and grows a little less densely than other trees, even though they very rarely grow taller than 20 feet tall.
Despite it being a fairly disease-resistance plant, and its fruit yield is quite large, it isn’t a popular cultivar for commercial use. It has become a popular tree grown by homes in the State it was first grown in, however.
The Keitt mango fruit is very big, almost twice the size of some types of mango, with a dull green color, with some hints of red in some fruits.
They also tend to be more oval-shaped than their more curved, tear-shaped counterparts. Their pulp is a very tangy-sweet flavor, with a little fibrous texture in there as well.
The father of many kinds of Florida-based mangos across the world, the Haden variety is a great cultivar in itself.
First grown from a Mulgoba mango in the state at the turn of the 20th century, this type of mango plant has a high fruit yield, which is what made it so popular when it was first grown.
It does have a vulnerability to infections from fungi however It also attracts a lot of fruit-eating wildlife, including fruit flies, unsurprisingly.
The Haden mango itself is a very sweet, fibrous fruit, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. With a bright yellow base, with a deep red blush, it’s little wonder what made it such an eye-catching fruit when it was grown originally.
A popular cultivar in the West Indies, ‘Madam Francis’ mangos, as they are sometimes known, were originally grown in Haiti.
A plant of this variety will start to grow fruit start to grow mango fruit within 7 years if it is grown from a seed, or as little as, if the tree in question was grown from a cutting or tree graft, with the high drainage soil almost all mangos enjoy.
The mango fruit themselves are unique, being flattened, quite large, and almost shaped like kidney beans when fully ripened.
They are usually a light yellow, with a blush of green, and are sweet, fibrous fruits, with a surprising hint of spiciness to them when picked at the right time.
The Kent mango plant is another cultivar from Florida and is another descendant of the Haden mango variety that was first grown in the 20th century.
The tree itself is a very tall variety, as it can reach up to 30 feet tall, and tend to make for a high mango yield. They are quite vulnerable to certain fungal infections.
This tends to limit its commercial growth to the South US, Latin America, and some regions of the Middle East. It is quite popular as a home tree, however.
The mango itself can vary from an orange-yellow to a green, oval-shaped fruit, that has a rich, sweet flavor, with a somewhat rubbery texture.
They do not bruise very easily, which is great for their commercial use, but their short shelf life tends to limit how far they are distributed, often limited to areas around where they are grown.
Taking a step away from Florida and the Americas for a moment, one of the older varieties of mango that are still grown is the Alphonso mango, the ‘King of Mangos’ as it is sometimes known as.
Being grown in India by Portuguese colonists and traders in the late 14th/early 15th century, it is also one of the most difficult breeds of mango to cultivate out there.
With all mango plants needing reliable sunlight and soil with good drainage, the more monsoonal, unpredictable weather conditions of some regions of India make it sometimes difficult to grow.
Small wonder that it is one of the most expensive mangos out there, too.
But, it is all worth it, as the Alphonso mango is one of the most flavorful mangos out there. The texture is smooth, rich, and juicy, and the flavor is sweet and creamy.
There’s a lot of flavors packed in these small, legendary, orange-yellow fruits.
India by itself has hundreds of different kinds of mangos it grows. Perhaps that is not too surprising, given that it was in this region of the world that mangos were first grown and cultivated.
Another staple of Southeast Asian crops, the Kesar Mango cultivar is another legendary variety of fruit from the Indian subcontinent.
First recognized in the 1930s as a distinct variety of mango, the plant itself can become quite large, with a large canopy growth if left to its own devices, so many are pruned when they are in commercial use.
Sometimes known as ‘Queen of the Mangos’ Kesar is one of the richest cultivars of the thousands in India. In terms of flavor, it is second only to the Alphonso.
The fruits are harvested when they are still green and will ripen into a strong deep yellow as they mature. They are renowned for their sweetness across India and pack a lot of flavor in =to their relatively small size.