Kitchen Confidence

How to Slice a Mango

By • May 8, 2013 • 18 Comments

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. 

Today: 2 ways to prep one of the trickiest tropical fruits. 

We learned two principal things in last year's New York Times piece on mangoes. First, that they were in season. (It ran in June.) And second, that they're a very, very big deal in India. There, mangoes are a status symbol, more like a rare gem than a fruit. They're an over-used trope in novels, they're the namesake and hero of movies. They're a season.

In our culture, spring and summer and fall and winter trump mango, but they shouldn't. Everyone has a mango season -- right now is ours. 

More: Don't miss out on arugula flowers, either. They're in season too. 

What to Look For  
You have just a few months from early April to catch the King of Fruits while they're in their peak season, so pick them often, and pick them well. Look for mangoes that give slightly to gentle pressure, much like an avocado would, or a ripe peach. Ripe mangoes will have a full, fruity aroma, too, and color (that bleeding red hue that appears on some fruits) has nothing to do with ripeness -- always judge by feel and smell. 

If your mangoes aren't quite there yet, put them in a paper bag at room temperature, and wait. Patiently.

How to Prep
Once they're ripe, in hand, and you want to eat them, wash them. (This may sound odd, but anything on the outer skins will make its way inside the moment you cut.) Then, you have two options. 

1. The Hedgehog

Start by cutting each of the larger sides off of a ripe mango. (Do this by making a lengthwise cut just slightly off-center, so you miss the mango's core.)

Then, holding one half in your hand at a time, make lengthwise cuts through the flesh -- but not through the skin. 

  

Repeat, until you make your way across the body of the mango, making the cuts as close together as you want your eventual pieces to be. Then switch to widthwise; you're making a crosshatch pattern.

Once it looks like this, you're ready for the best part. 

Pressing up from the skin-side of the mango, invert the flesh -- perfect cubes will magically appear.

Slice them off, and they're ready to eat!

2. The Peel and Slice

This method might be a little slippery, but it works just as well. Here, you'll just peel the entire fruit like you would a potato.

And then slice off your pieces just around the core. Alternately, you can slice the fruit with its peel intact, and then just peel each individual piece. You can freeze mango as soon as it's peeled and cubed, instead of just eating it, but why would you want to do that? 

Photos by James Ransom

Read More: 
Mango Yogurt & Granola
A Bowl of Mango Sunshine
Mango Salad with Fennel Frond Pesto

Tags: kitchen confidence, prepping mangoes, mangoes, mango, how to, photo how to, how-to & diy

Comments (18)

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about 1 year ago MQAvatar

I love mango and have been a hedgehog man my whole life (I learned it from my mom), but I just learned a new method to prepare mango in Afghanistan. It's really fun and less messy, slightly.

1. Place a mango on a cutting board, horizontally (east to west).
2.At about the middle of the mango, cut along the Y-axis (north to south) down to the pit and then around the entire pit. You now have two "hemispheres" of mango (one slightly thinner, on slightly wider), connected by the pit.
3. Grab each side with each hand (the cut will be in the middle) and twist. You now have one hemisphere with a pit sticking out and another hemisphere of mango that you can scoop out with a spoon.
4. Scrape the exposed pit of tasty mango. Then, grab the pit with your hand (or with your teeth) and twist again to remove the pit from the other hemisphere, leaving you with another half of mango that you can scoop out.

Enjoy!

Stringio

about 1 year ago Mary E. Savedra

I use the same mango cutting method for avocados when I make guacamole.

Stringio

about 1 year ago crazyblues

cutting off the cheeks, then slicing into orange shaped pieces, then removing the peel gives you the cleanest slices with the least of mess. unless of course you grab the seed and eagerly chomp off the rest of the fruit. yum. Here in costa rica, it's mango season. They lie in piles under the mother tree, by the side of the road...

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about 1 year ago Michael Mina

You must have learned from an Egyptian. Cutting into squares. :-)

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about 1 year ago skooj

Thank you LoStyles and Panfusine. I now know why I get a terrible rash after touching or peeling mangoes! It's called Mango Rash (I googled it). I didn't know it existed. Thank you so much!

Rekaya_gibson

about 1 year ago Rekaya

I finally know how to cut a mango. Thank you for sharing.

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about 1 year ago LoStyles

Interesting fact: Mango tree sap contains urushiol, the same compound that is found in poison oak and poison ivy. Often you can see some sap dried on the skin of the fruit near the stem end (it's shiny). This can give you a nasty rash, especially if you are SUPER sensitive as I am. I have to trick other people into doing the peeling for me if I want to eat mangoes risk free.

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about 1 year ago Panfusine

true.. the potency of the sap is higher in the raw green mangoes, a standard warning was to make sure your eyes were protected before you even thought about picking one off the tree (it spurts out as an oily sap). Same issues with Cashew apples & the raw cashew nuts

Stringio

about 1 year ago Lalitha Rajamanickam

As someone who grew up eating a lot of mangoes in India, I would say the varieties that are available in US are tasteless and bland compared to what I have tasted.

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about 1 year ago ksherk

I believe that's true of any fruit that's shipped several thousands of miles before it's purchased. However, not all of us have the opportunity to live in the shade of beautiful mango trees, so we must make do with what's available!

Stringio

about 1 year ago Lalitha Rajamanickam

I googled and found that US allows only two varieties of mangoes from India to be imported. They are both from northern India, so as a south Indian I really miss those delicious fruits from home. Back home there used to be small mangoes of the size of an apple. We used to eat it with skin and is a popular after school snack. :)

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about 1 year ago Panfusine

Are you referring to the Rumani 'apple' mangoes?

Stringio

about 1 year ago Lalitha Rajamanickam

The same one you mentioned in your comment (crush with palm and suck it directly ones); my brother always consumes it like that but I don't for the fear of the insects that live inside the seed.

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about 1 year ago ksherk

This is the technique I've always used, but they can still be wobbly and (especially after you cut the first one) slippery, so be careful! I got a nice slice when prepping mangoes for chutney a few weeks ago!

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about 1 year ago LazizaBites

thanks for the tips! totally identify w/ your description of yourself - no egg on my food, don't like watery sauces, and yes def. rip of piece of bread in supermarket parking lot. :)

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about 1 year ago Panfusine

hedgehog camp as well... and brazen enough to admit that I love sucking the pits dry after cutting off the cheeks.. Thats the best part of messy mango eating. In fact there are some varieties of mangoes such as 'Chausa' that are best eaten by squeezing the whole fruit between the palms, cutting off the stem end and sucking the pulp in its entirety, leaving behind the seed inside the leathery peel

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

panfusine, you make me laugh! I'm right there with you in the "brazenly sucks the pits dry" department. ;o)

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about 1 year ago Bevi

I am in the hedgehog camp.