The mango contains much sugar. The proportions of other constituents, such as acids and protein, are low in the ripe fruit. The following table, from analyses made in Hawaii by Alice R. Thompson, shows the composition of three well-known Indian varieties:
In commenting on these and other data, Miss Thompson 1 says: "The total solids are high for the average fresh fruit; the total sugars vary from 11 to 20 per cent, according to the variety. In all samples the sucrose is the principal sugar present. The protein in several varieties is a little higher than is usual in fruits. The acidity varies and is as much as 0.5 per cent in one variety. Qualitative tests showed the presence of considerable amounts of tannin, but no starch was apparent."
1 Hawaii Exp. Sta. Rept., 1914.
The unripe fruit is characterized by the presence of malic and tartaric acids in considerable quantities. An analysis published in the Pharmacographia Indica shows the percentage of tartaric (with a trace of citric) to be 7.04, and the remaining free acid as malic, 12.66.
The Agricultural News (Barbados, September 27, 1913) published a comparison of the chemical composition of the apple with that of the Carabao mango, one of the principal Philippine sorts. It was found that "The former fruit contains 14.96 per cent solids, whereas the mango contains 17.2. In regard to sugar (total) the first-named fruit contains about 7.58 per cent, whereas the mango has 13.24. As regards protein (nitrogenous matter) the apple has about 0.22 per cent, and the mango 0.22 per cent also. The total acidity in the apple is 1.04 per cent, whereas in the mango it is only 0.14 per cent. In making these comparisons we have purposely taken one of the less nutritious varieties of mango, and it may safely be said that in regard to chemical composition the balance is on the side of the mango."
While the mango is most commonly eaten as a fresh fruit, it can be utilized in many different ways. Sir George Watt1 says:
"Besides being eaten as a ripe fruit, numerous preparations are made of it. When green it is cut into slices, and after extraction of the stone, is put into curries, or made into pickles with other ingredients or into preserves and jellies. When young and green it is boiled, strained, mixed with milk and sugar, and thus prepared as the custard known as mangophul, or dried and made into the native ambchur. When very young it may be cut into small pieces and eaten in salad. So again, the ripe fruit is used in curries and salads, and the expressed juice when spread on plates and allowed to dry is formed into the thin cakes known as ambsath."
1 Commercial Products of India.
In the United States, mangos have up to the present been used chiefly as dessert fruits. To a less extent they have been made into chutney, - the spicy sauce well known to all those who have traveled in the Orient,-preserves, sauces, and pies. For these purposes the fruit is taken before fully ripe. The "mango pickles" sold in the northern United States are not made from the mango, but from a sweet pepper; the use of the name mango in this connection is unwarranted.
Mangos are canned in the same manner as peaches. Recently a firm at Muzaffarpur, India, has undertaken to develop an export trade in preserved mangos. About 18,000 cans were shipped to England in a single year. Consul General William H. Michael said of the product, "I have opened one can of the Bombay Extra mangos and find that they are carefully packed and retain their flavor as well as could be expected of this sort of fruit. In fact they are as well preserved and retain their flavor quite as well as do peaches canned in California."
Hindu and Muhammadan writers on Materia Medica discuss at length the medicinal virtues of the mango :
"Shortly, we may say that they consider the ripe fruit to be invigorating and refreshing, fattening, and slightly laxative and diuretic; but the rind and fiber, as well as the unripe fruit, to be astringent and acid. The latter when pickled is much used on account of its stomachic and appetizing qualities. Unripe mangos peeled and cut from the stone and dried in the sun form the well-known Amchur or Ambosi (Amrapesi, Sans.,) so largely used in India as an article of diet; as its acidity is chiefly due to the presence of citric acid, it is a valuable anti-scorbutic; it is also called Am-ki-chhitta and Am-khushk. The blossom, kernel, and bark are considered to be cold, dry and astringent, and are used in diarrhoea, etc. The smoke of the burning leaves is supposed to have a curative effect in some affections of the throat. According to the author of the Makhzan, the Hindus make a confection of the baked pulp of the unripe fruit mixed with sugar, which in time of plague or cholera they take internally and rub all over the body; it is also stated in the same work that the midribs of the leaves calcined are used to remove warts on the eyelids." (Dymock, Warden, and Hooper.)