WIDE BAY residents have been encouraged to tuck into a tray of mangoes this summer and celebrate 30 years since one of the region's most common varieties was bred.
As the juicy favourite comes into season, fruit lovers can appreciate the history behind each bite.
The popular R2E2 variety, a cross between the Kensington Pride (also known as the Bowen) and the Kent, was first developed in North Queensland 30 years ago.
A major Queensland export, the variety delivers a reliable yield of consistent quality and has enabled producers to extend their growing season.
It also offers more flesh per fruit and a longer shelf life than many other varieties.
Sunkist Plantation owner Col Jeacocke has a planting of about 1000 of the variety at his property on the outskirts of Gin Gin.
Mr Jeacocke said the introduction of the variety had allowed him to extend his growing season and get more fruit to market.
"It comes in quite late, which makes it a useful addition for any grower," he said.
"It's not as sweet as the Kensington (Pride).
"But as far as quality goes, if it is grown properly, it's a perfectly good eating mango."
Mr Jeacocke said the variety's large size and bright red blush had established it as a major overseas export.
It was thought to account for about 70% of all mango exports.
"The Asian countries seem to love it," Mr Jeacocke said.
Cordalba farmer Col Taylor said the variety had established a reputation for reliability and ease of pollination.
"You get a better crop with the R2E2 than you do with the Bowen and they do seem to pollinate better," he said.
The R2E2 was first bred at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry research station in Bowen.
The variety takes its name from the row and position in the field of the first tree that was grown.
Unripe mangoes should never be refrigerated. Store them out of direct sunlight at room temperature for a few days until they ripen.
Once ripe, they can be stored in the fridge for two to three days before use.
Mangoes need to breathe-never store them in plastic bags.
Mangoes freeze really well. They can be sliced and bagged, or pureed and placed into ice-cube trays.
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