Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Consider the case of the poor mango. They're absolutely delicious- a little sweet, a little tart- with a soft, creamy texture. They're chock-a-block full of antioxidants, iron, and Vitamin A. They're available most of the year (starting right around now), and the flavor is like an instantaneous mini-vacation to some balmy island. Yet, they just aren't as widely eaten and liked as they should be. Why? Because, unlike the ever-portable apple, or the comes-in-a-convenient-wrapper-with-a-handle banana, mangoes are very very difficult to eat. They've got a long, flat pit right in the middle to which the flesh clings tenaciously, and, if you get a good one, you are almost guaranteed to end up with sticky orange goo on your chin (and maybe your shirt and shoes, too).
I remember very clearly seeing a small local child eating a mango, on some Spring Break trip I took somewhere tropical one time (okay, maybe I don't remember that clearly). The kid, who was barely old enough to be out of diapers (well, definitely less than ten years old), methodically and perfectly peeled and ate this mango without getting a drop of juice or pulp on his (or her) hands (maybe this happened in a dream, actually...) Anyway, the point is, I knew then and there that eating a mango didn't have to be a sloppy, sticky mess, if only I figured out the proper method.
So here it is- the "right" way to eat a mango. Unlike the tropical-dream-child's method, my method requires a knife and a cutting board, but the results are the same: All the lovely pleasures of the mango with none of the pulpy mess. Right here in reality.

1. Leaving the skin on, and holding the mango narrow-side up, use a knife to cut the flesh from one side of the mango. If you estimate about 1/3 of the width of the side, you should cut just to the side of the pit. Repeat on the other side of the pit, cutting off the other fleshy side.

2. Use the knife to score a grid into the flesh on each side. Try to cut deeply through the flesh, without cutting through the skin.

3. Push the skin side to invert the flesh, causing your mango chunks to spread away from the skin. Use the knife to cut the chunks free from the skin.

4. If you don't want to waste any of that mango goodness, use your knife to cut the remaining sides and bottom from the pit. Only about 3/4-inch of flesh is likely to come free from each side. Peel these slices and cut into chunks.

If you don't plan to gobble the whole mango immediately, put the chunks in a Tupperware container and refrigerate for up to 3 or 4 days, or pack in your lunch. Or, freeze the chunks for a delicious, nutritious, low-calorie treat.


Laura@The Oily Cupboard said...

sticky rice w/mango is my total fav dessert! mangoes are soooo underrated!!

Chloe said...

Kind of my favorite food ever!

kallu said...

As a true blue Indian, (and a great fan of your blog), seeing our lovely mango on this post made me smile. We get mangoes only three months of the year here. But one method to eat more clean would be to pare it with a peeler or knife, then chop it up with the method you've suggested. Great to meet a mango lover from across the world.

mo said...

those mangos look good. are they manilla mangos? they are our household favorite. my little boy always calls them "vanilla mangos". love your blog and all the bits of info and inspiration i get from it.

Lily said...

Per my mom:

"Hey Lil,
When we were hanging around in Mexico, we watched people roll ripe mangoes on a table until the insides were soft and squishy. Then, they'd just cut off about 3/4 inch off the top and eat the fruit with a spoon right out of the skin.
Try it!