The Mangos of Todos Santos

BY: DAVID ZIVIC

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Genus Mangifera is the name of the genus of the Mango trees. It is the National fruit of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, interestingly though the Mexican National Fruit is Avocado. Even more interesting is that the United States nor Canada does not even have a National Fruit. I don't think the pueblo of Todos Santos either, but if you look around this Magical Pueblo, it becomes apparent that it's a symbol of some sort.

The first reference of Mango cultivation was in India around 2000 bc. Then it moved along into East Asia around 450bc. The trees then moved and appeared a little later in The Philippines around the 14th Century being eaten in Africa, Brazil, and Portugal, where explorers moved them around those places, including Mexico. That is where our story begins. Somewhere in those later Centuries is when cultivated mangos appear in Baja and our own Pueblo of Todos Santos.

There are over 500 varieties of Mangos, but we are concerned about the three that are relevant in this Mango Coast and the local mountain regions.

The large and rounder Kents are unanimous to be everybody's favorite. They are longer and more yellow, and the locals often referred to them as the Machetes.

The third and by far the most prevalent style is the traditional mango shape and colors and the ones you see lining the Highway and streets of the town. These are prevalent in the area called LaCachorra, and further north on the other side (Otra Lada) also seem to be just called Mangos. This is because the ones you pick up under trees and see in the local markets are by far the juiciest and sweetest as they ripen on the tree rather than picked green and ripen in transit.

Speaking of the actual trees, some of the ones in Todos Santos are over 100 years and get as tall as 130'. Another side effect is that the tree leaves are so thick they provide big footprints of shade. That respite of the summer heat is always welcome by the residents of people, dogs, horses, and cattle. 

These massive trees carry a plethora of fruit, so many that some owners need to hire people to carry off wheelbarrow loads. Should you enjoy a ripe Mango, the sizeable residual seed will readily germinate and make a small tree within a couple of months.

This fruit can be prepared in several ways: Chutney, Sorbet, Candy, Sauce for Fish or Chicken, even with Oatmeal. My personal favorite is just to slice them parallel to the flat seed, make cross slices to the two medallions, and scoop them out as little cubes. Then I make a 1/2"cut through the skin in the center around the seed, peel it off and hold it with 2 hands and eat over the kitchen sink. BTW, I'm usually alone when I do this!

Besides being, in my opinion, the sweet flavor of the fruit, the Nutritional values are a little off the charts. There is an abundance of Vitamins A, C, E, AND K. Also Beta-Carotene, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Protein, and Dietary fiber.

This story wouldn't be complete without a comment about The Mango Teeth. I will not mention here, and I will leave it as a surprise ... enjoy.

To find more about the culinary adventure of this luscious fruit, watch for the Mango Festival that will be featured in the next issue of the Gazette. It will feature 5 days of local events centered around the Colonia (neighborhood) of San Ignacio in Todos Santos. One day we will have 12 local restaurants at the Central Plaza. All dishes and drinks will be prepared by the chefs with fresh Todos Santos Mangos. Admission is free, and charges for tasting will be priced with the economy schedule in mind.