Are there any foods you love but find yourself avoiding in your own kitchen due to hassle, mess, or unreliability? Granted, getting your hands dirty is par for the course in the kitchen. But some people would rather avoid the mischief, the mistakes that certain ingredients beget.
For me, that food is mangoes. Don’t get me wrong (not even for a second!), I love them. They’re sumptuous and velvety and sweet in a way that makes me feel like a kid again, but I sometimes—sometimes!—find them a bit messy. I have to be prepared when I eat a mango, you know? It's not an apple, for crying out loud. If I'm going to eat a mango, I have to lay down a cloth towel and roll up my sleeves and carve out 10 minutes for the sucker. Mangos require my attention.
But what if they didn’t? What if there were a way to cut and de-pit a mango in 10 seconds instead of 10 minutes? You’d jump, wouldn’t you?
Behold: a video making the rounds on social media this week of a disembodied hand showing a quite stunning mango (one whose skin is a sunset ombré of dusty red to bright ochre) who's the boss.
The trick appears quite simple. All one has to do is hold the mango horizontally (hotdog, not hamburger) and slice along its vertical axis. From there, it’s a simple swish and flick, à la Hermione Granger: You twist one half of the flesh around the pit and ease it off.
The internet, as is wont to do, became incensed. Here are a few of my favorite reactions:
Most mangoes—at least the varieties that are most popular in the United States—wouldn’t, couldn’t peel this way. They stick too tightly to their pit to separate that easily. Judging by the video, the effectiveness of the hack seemed more a question of varietal specificity.
We reached out to Karen B. Caplan, the President & CEO of Frieda's Specialty Produce, to see if she could identify the mango at hand. “My best guess is that this is the Nam Dok Mai variety,” she told us.
A Nam Dok Mai mango originated in Thailand. It’s smaller than the average American supermarket variety and tends to be sweeter, chalkier in flavor. It’s more elongated (like a chile pepper) than it is globular (like a tomato).
Nam Dok Mais are but one of many mango cultivars, however. Peep this exhaustive Wikipedia list to gauge the fruit’s many cousins, or take a look at this chart:
As for now, the exact identity of the mango and the efficacy of the hack remains in question, but we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Have you seen this mango? If so, let us know what it’s called and if this trick works in the comments below.
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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.