Kenyan mangoes stand tall amongst the best in the world, putting the country on the map as a source of juicy and healthy fruits to the world’s leading mango markets. Mango is a stony tropical fruit of the anacardiaceae family. In Kenya, mango farming is done mostly in Eastern and the Coast. Ripe fruits are consumed raw as dessert, or processed into fruit juices and other sweet products. Since mango is a seasonal fruit, it is highly perishable and value addition is necessary to avoid losses. Value addition is any action that takes a (raw) product a step closer to the form in which it can conveniently meet the needs of the users. This enables small-scale farmers to reduce post-harvest losses for perishable fruits and thereby offering them opportunities to maximise returns.
Margaret Achieng', a fruit seller says value addition opportunities from mango include natural juices, dessert, slice and package, sorting and grading, packaging and cold storage.
Upon harvest, the mango fruit is highly perishable, therefore farmers have taken up farm-level value addition strategies to enhance the shelf life so as to improve market access.
“Farmers should adopt high-yielding mango varieties such as apple and apply good management practices to increase the quantity produced, which in turn will reflect in increased market supply,” says Achieng'.
Mango is the second-ranked most important fruit after banana in Kenya contributing about 21 per cent foreign income of total exported fruits according to Horticultural Crop Directorate. Local varieties in Kenya include Dodo, Boribo and Batawi. Others are Ngowe, Apple Mango, Kent, Keitt, Van Dyke, Sensation, Haden, Sabine, Maya and Tommy Atkins.
According to BBC Goodfood, mangoes are rich in protective antioxidants, may aid in digestion, help maintain healthy skin and hair and support heart health. Here are value added products that can be obtained from mangoes.
Mango juice may require only five ingredients or less and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. Use ripe mangoes, orange and lemon juice and water as a base. Depending on the preference, one might add cinnamon or ginger to give it a twist.
“Cinnamon regulates blood sugar levels and lowers risk of type-two diabetes,” says Achieng'.
Peel the mangoes and separate the mango flesh from the seed. Add orange or lemon juice, sugar or honey, water and then blend. Keep it in an air-tight container and store in a freezer. Average cost of a litre of fresh mango juice.
Dried mango flakes
This is a great snack and makes a good business that you can sell to your neighbours, friends or to offices, parks and snack house. Recipes are ripe mango, refined sugar, confectioner’s sugar and sodium meta bisulfite or sodium erythorbate (food grade). Wash mangoes and peel them. Slice along its lateral axis from both sides of the middle seed section, and cut the cheeks into pieces with a thickness of approximately 1.5cm.
Add white sugar to mango slices. The sugar is allowed to melt in the mangoes.
“Another method of syruping is by quick process in which 25 per cent of sugar and 75 per cent of water is prepared into syrup by boiling then cool and add to the mango slices,” explains Achieng'.
Heat the mangoes until the slices become translucent then cool.
Add 0.1 per cent of sodium meta-bisulfite or sodium erythorbate (1g for every kilogram of mango slices). Mix thoroughly. Soak mangoes in syrup for at least 18 to 20 hours. Drain and rinse slices with running water. Lay slices on trays lined with cheesecloth.
“Dry in a solar drier and make sure the drying area is clean and free from dust and flies,” says Achieng'.
Remove from trays and loosely pack dried mangoes in ordinary plastic bags and store at ambient condition for 18 to 24 hours. Dried mangoes cost Sh295 for 100g and Sh500 for 200g.
The mango puree is made from Ngowe and Apple varieties. The main processing stages here are washing, pulp extraction, purifying, decantation, deaeration, sterilisation and finally aseptic filling. This ensures that the mango puree is packed under sterile conditions thus maintaining the integrity of the product and shelf life. Mashed peeled ripe mango served plain or occasionally mixed with yoghurt, smooth or chunky, are among good solid foods to introduce to weaning babies.
“For a finer consistency, use a blender and a little bit of water,” says Achieng'.
Wash fully ripe fruits (1.0 kg) and drain. Soften by hand or use a fruit pulper. Add appropriate volume of water (two litres) and adjust sugar content to 20 degrees Brix (20 per cent fermentable sugar) (dry wine) or 25 degrees Brix (sweet wine) which has added refined sugar. Add 5ml of 10 per cent sodium meta-bisulfite to destroy spoilage microorganisms. Cover the jar properly and let it stand for 16 to 18 hours at room temperature.
“Add the starter and ferment for four days. Filter to separate the seeds and pulp. Transfer the liquid in clean fermentation jars and cover with fermentation lock. Continue anaerobic fermentation for three weeks,” she says.
“Siphon the wine using tygon tubing. Care must be exercised not to make too much movement on the jar so as not to disturb the sediments.”
Add five mililitres of 10 per cent sodium meta-bisulfite per gallon of wine. Fill the jars with wine to its brim and cover tightly to prevent access of oxygen. Store in cool, dry place for at least six months to mature. “Place in clean wine bottles and cover with cork or similar closure. Seal with paraffin- glycerin mixture or plastic seal. Finally, cover the bottle with a cap seal,” said Achieng.
Mango powder is used as a flavour enhancer in various foods and beverages such as in ice cream, yoghurt, and the bakery and confectionery industries. Dried mango powder is processed by dehydrating mango pulp to a moisture content of three per cent.
“One of the challenges in obtaining physically stable powder from dry fruits is their susceptibility to caking during processing and storage. Caking has a negative impact on shelf life of powder,” says Achieng'.
To mitigate caking, carrier agents such as maltodextrin, starch, cellulose, or gums are used at a concentration of between one and 20 per cent dry basis.