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Feb 20, 2007 09:21 AM

Flavorless mangos ... anyone know why?

When I first had mangos in the 70s they struck me as tasting strongly like turpentine might if you could get around the "poison" issue. By about 1990 they were pretty flavorless, resembling a peach more than paint thinner. Today I had one that mainly resembled water.

Is my memory faulty? Have my senses dulled? Or are mangos really much milder than they were 30 years ago? Does anyone know why? Were they bred that way to "satisfy the American palate"? Are they imported from a different region with different soil? Can anyone tell me where to get an old fashioned, turpentine-y mango?

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  1. Mangoes are one of my favorite fruits. And you're right, there is a bit of a "peachy" flavor to them when they are fully ripe. What I'm not sure about is why yu want a mango that tastes like turpentine. Can you explain?

    1 Reply
    1. re: chicgail

      Sure. I don't like bland, sweet food.

    2. I don't think they are supposed to taste like turpentine if they are at the correct stage of ripeness. Ripeness has a lot to do with it and I am very hit or miss picking ripe ones.

      A friend of mine told me that an Indian grocer is a great place to find really good mangoes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jzerocsk

        I agree-- Indian and Latino nieghborhood markets tend to have better ones.

      2. There are different types of mangoes. As recommended, try asian stores and you might find the yellower ones that are more custardy and sweet. There are larger, stringier ones that aren't as sweet. I don't know about turpentine tasting, though, and probably wouldn't be looking for one that was.

        1. Mangos have a season. The beautiful, creamy yellow/orange Alphonso, King of Fruits will start showing up soon in the spring. If you have South Asian markets in your area look also for the Dasheri and Langada varieties, they are very aromatic and have paper thin skins. Excellent mangos come the Philippines, Mexico, The Caribbean and South America. Unfortunately, we North Americans must have seasonal fruit year round, like tomatoes and strawberries in January. As a result, fully 80% of all mangos grown in the world are the Tommy Atkins variety. It has a tough skin, is resistant to disease, it's famous for its fibrous, tasteless flesh and is doing for the mango what McD's did to the hamburger.
          Da Cook

          1. The turpentine taste may have come from a very overripe mango. Also, a quick Google search revealed that there is actually a type of mango called Turpentine, so maybe that's what you remember eating?

            3 Replies
            1. re: anonymoose


              My search pulled up that Mango trees are a member of the Evergreen family which includes the Pine tree. To me that kind of explains the turpentine scent/flavor.


              1. re: RShea78

                Mango trees are a tropical evergreen, they belong to the genus Mangifera which consists of about 35 species of tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. Mangoes are NOT related to pine trees they just share some characteristics. In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that retains its leaves all year round, with each leaf persisting for more than 12 months. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose all their foliage for part of the year, becoming bare and leafless. (thanks Wikipedia!)
                Another difference is that Mangos are much tastier than pine cones.
                Da Cook

                1. re: Da_Cook

                  FWIW, Mangoes are related to poison ivy, cashews and pistachios.