Kitchen Hacks

The Mango Cutting Video We Can’t Stop Watching

Mind-blowing, mesmerizing, magical.

August  9, 2019
Photo by James Ransom

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.

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Top Comment:
“Soooo....I'm going to be the person that always makes me cringe. You know the one who begins with "...on the other hand..." or "...no that's not the way to do that...". May I be her for a minute? I am from the island of Jamaica where we probably have about 50 different varieties of mangoes. Only about 3 or 4 of them would willingly submit to that kind of ill-treatment from a knife. The writer complained about the messiness of eating a mango, well it's like a couple, three other really enjoyable things - messy. I am from the parish of Clarendon where there is grown the sweetest (well none sweeter that I've ever tasted) mango known as the Milly. It seems like there is a million filaments coming off the seed of this mango. So what is required is this: First you wash the mango thoroughly, then you sink your teeth into the skin and peel a section of it away before you really sink your teeth in the golden, sunshiny-yellow sweetness. In the process juice will run down your arms and mango filaments will get caught in your teeth and you will experience a happiness that is indescribable and never diminishes no matter how often you repeat this action, seriously. Again I wish to apologize for being this person:)”
— Agatha B.
Comment

The internet, as is wont to do, became incensed. Here are a few of my favorite reactions:

Even Padma Lakshmi chimed in on her Instagram: "Have you ever tried to cut a mango like this??"

Many others took pause with the purported hack:

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.

Photo by One World Thailand (Wikimedia Commons)

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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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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    ccaracio
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    JJ&cat
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    mckenzie
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    Kimber Hawkey
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    Beth
Comment
Valerio Farris

Written by: Valerio Farris

Former staff writer at Food52. Current anchovy eater.

36 Comments

ccaracio August 30, 2019
How do you accomplish cleanly removing the pit from the other 1/2 of the mango?
 
JJ&cat August 30, 2019
Mangoes are big faves here! We slice off a large piece from as close to the flat sides of the seed as possible on each side, then very carefully dice the fruit inside the skin, push it wrong side out, so it looks like a very odd creature, and slice off the lovely cubes- YUMMM!! What little is left around the outer edge of the seed is easy to peel, then slice off.

If you try this, just be careful not to split the skin, especially if you’re holding it while slicing!
 
mckenzie August 30, 2019
the next step is filling your perfect mango bowl with ice cream
 
Kimber H. August 30, 2019
The Mango would have to be extremely ripe or even over ripe for this to work. Not sure if if would still be good to eat.
 
Beth August 29, 2019
You can usually peel a mango with a potato peeler, then cut off the meat however you want. I score the meat top to bottom all around about a half inch apart all the way down to the pit, then score it crossways top to bottom. Then slice as close to the pit as you can and the meat comes off already diced. Great for making chutney. Messy though, do it over the sink.
 
Pam August 29, 2019
Ages ago, when I was in third and fourth grades, we lived in Hawaii and had mango trees in our yard. I'd climb up, with a knife (probably a folding pen knife), pick mangos, slice them, and eat them, right then and there. I have no idea what technique (if any) I used.

However, many years later, as an adult, the first time I bought and cut open a mango, the aroma instantly transported me back to those trees in Hawaii. I was fascinated at how the sense of smell could trigger a strong memory!

Count forward a few years to a vacation in the Caribbean, when I got an odd very red and very itchy rash on my left cheek and around my left eye. Couldn't figure it out, antihistimines did nothing to clear it up, but a course of steroids seemed to help. Then after arriving home the rash reappeared around my mouth and chin, which were bright red, very swollen, and very itchy as were both hands. My family doctor had no idea, but I mentioned it to my sister who said, "did you have any mango? Don't you remember when we lived in Hawaii and i got a terrible rash from mango skin? It's got something in it that's similar to poison ivy!" No, I didn't remember, but I did a little research and put two and two together: I had eaten several mangoes directly out of the skin, holding them in my left hand, and then later on, I'd lie down to read, propping my head in my left hand (hence the left cheek and eye area). Just before flying home, I bought two lovely ripe mangoes. On the the plane, the customs paperwork warned about no agricultural products, but I wasn't about to throw my prizes away, so I opened them up with a plastic knife and slurped the perfectly ripe flesh from the skins, much to the amusement of the flight attendants. Of course that explained the swollen lips and chin and the rash on my hands as well!

No doubt about it, I have a severe allergy to mango skin. I will occasionally buy them but only if I put plastic bags over my hands and don't touch the little beasties, and I wear plastic gloves while peeling them.

Just a heads-up to anyone who has severe reactions to poison ivy - watch out for mangoes!
 
Pam August 29, 2019
Google Image Mango Skin Allergy - some of those photos are mine, though i don't remember which ones.
 
Daniel H. August 29, 2019
Clickbait video, that would never happen in my kitchen! I’ve never seen mango release from the seed like this, ever.
 
Sara August 29, 2019
Its not that hard. We always use this method with Alphonso mangoes from India (the best mango ever).
 
Valerie August 29, 2019
You cut different mangoes in different ways. The technique shown in the video is what we use in Jamaica to cut Bombay and St Julian (Julie) mangoes. Living here in Canada, we get the Ataulfo (sp?) from Mexico, and I slice those vertically and scoop the flesh out. BTW, the horizontal method lends itself beautifully to putting a scoop of ice cream inside the cup of the mango.
 
Sara August 29, 2019
We have always used this method. And you won’t waste any mango! It is easier method for kids to eat as well.
 
Roberta August 29, 2019
Ok........this technique wouldn’t work for ANY of our many varieties here in Australia! Best method is still to cut off each cheek close to the seed then using a large steel serving spoon scoop out the flesh in one go from the skin. Now it’s easy to dice or slice the flesh & enjoy. 😊 🥭
 
Debby S. August 29, 2019
Wasting that much mango is sad.
 
Agatha B. August 29, 2019
Soooo....I'm going to be the person that always makes me cringe. You know the one who begins with "...on the other hand..." or "...no that's not the way to do that...". May I be her for a minute? I am from the island of Jamaica where we probably have about 50 different varieties of mangoes. Only about 3 or 4 of them would willingly submit to that kind of ill-treatment from a knife. The writer complained about the messiness of eating a mango, well it's like a couple, three other really enjoyable things - messy. I am from the parish of Clarendon where there is grown the sweetest (well none sweeter that I've ever tasted) mango known as the Milly. It seems like there is a million filaments coming off the seed of this mango. So what is required is this: First you wash the mango thoroughly, then you sink your teeth into the skin and peel a section of it away before you really sink your teeth in the golden, sunshiny-yellow sweetness. In the process juice will run down your arms and mango filaments will get caught in your teeth and you will experience a happiness that is indescribable and never diminishes no matter how often you repeat this action, seriously.
Again I wish to apologize for being this person:)
 
Cookie August 29, 2019
SO glad you're that person. Thank you!
 
Agatha B. August 29, 2019
Thank you:)
 
FS August 29, 2019
Bite into the skin?!? No thank you, I get a nasty reaction to something in the skin. No problems with the flesh or juice, but there's something in the skin that disagrees highly with my skin. Doesn't make sense, I know, but it is what it is.
 
Panfusine August 29, 2019
You brought tears to my eyes and made me drool with sheer joy reading your description of how ripe mangoes should be savored.
 
Agatha B. August 29, 2019
So sorry about that. That would mean you probably don't want to hear about the "fine skin" and "number 11" mangoes with such thin succulent skins one can actually eat them, the skin I mean? In fact the "fine skin" is such a small mango, you can actually just pop the whole thing in your mouth. Wow, this is making nostalgic, homesick and desperately hungry for some mangoes, so I'm going to stop. Cheers:)
 
Agatha B. August 29, 2019
I love tears of joy. Happy day:)
 
FS August 29, 2019
Come to think of it, only the big supermarket mangoes give me that reaction. The smaller yellow ones are fine, besides which they taste a lot better.
I didn't know there are mangoes that can be eaten with the skin. It makes sense that they're small, but what about the seed? Is it edible too?
 
Dang D. August 29, 2019
I’m the same way. But I discovered that it’s not the skin it’s the pesticide used on commercial mangoes. Now I can have organic or homegrown mangoes grown without pesticides.
 
Pam August 29, 2019
Read my post above; it makes perfect sense because there's something in the skin that is similar to poison ivy! i have to wear plastic gloves or plastic bags on my hands to handle or peel mangoes, but once the nasty peel is gone I an enjoy the fruit.
 
Pam August 29, 2019
*can*

"May Cause an Allergic Reaction

Mango skin contains urushiol, a cocktail of organic chemicals also found in poison ivy and poison oak (12Trusted Source).

Urushiol can promote an allergic response in some people, especially those with sensitivities to poison ivy and other urushiol-heavy plants.

Be aware that consuming mango skin may cause an itchy rash and swelling of your skin (13Trusted Source)." (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mango-skin#drawbacks)
 
Pam August 29, 2019
Google Image Mango Skin Allergy - some of those photos are mine, though i don't remember which ones.
 
Panfusine August 29, 2019
please don't stop!.. you've got me obsessed about the varieties found in Jamaica now. Hit the lottery this year by scoring boxes of 6 different Indian varieties, including the elusive Alphonso. but I would never subject those to this type of cut. After the cheeks, the pits are meant to be sucked out of every speck of flesh, leaving behind a tuft of fibres around the stone.
 
Misfitwife August 30, 2019
Read the article above...it explains it...
 
Agatha B. August 30, 2019
Now I don't know if the seeds are edible. There was all kinds of scuttlebutt about roasting them over charcoals, kinda like cashews? But I never did it. That said there is a whole new level of enjoyment from just getting every last nano-morsel of taste from sucking on the seed though:)
 
FS August 30, 2019
Roasted mango seeds ... the mind boggles! On a different note, once I managed to sprout a mango seed which then grew into a nice plant.
Quite pretty with glossy leaves!
 
fearlessem August 13, 2019
Why would Food52 post this article without actually trying this out for us? I come to Food52 for real expertise, not reposts and then a "we'd love to hear your thoughts" tacked on at the end...
 
Danielle August 29, 2019
Food52 is turning into BuzzFeed.
 
lillianstrange August 12, 2019
My sis tried it today, and it worked! But watching the video made me cringe when he was cutting through the mango with one hand
 
AnnaS August 11, 2019
My aunt used to do this successfully, but it was with the mango fruits from the tree in her back yard. I have never been able to do it myself. Donal Skeehan just put up a mango sorbet recipe. In it, he uses the old method of slicing half the fruit off the pod horizontally and then into squares while still attached to the skin. My usual next step is to then invert the fruit (so that it looks sort of like a hedgehog) and slice the cubes off. Instead, he pressed the tip onto the lip of a glass and pressed down so that the skin slid outside the glass and the cubes dropped into the glass. So easy, but it blew my mind!
 
Panfusine August 10, 2019
watching that video was like nails on a chalkboard.. It may barely work on an elongated ataulfo or those Thai Mangoes. you need a variety completely devoid of fibers to do that. Mango fibers tend to be quite stringy and tough and most varieties tend to be too large to effectively twist like you would a peach.
Those Thai mangoes, which can be found in Asian Grocery store IMO are perfect for another way of eating, especially when unripe -- with a sprinkle of Mexican Taijin - the way they're often sold in India, sliced thin and cut into fronds using a variety known as totapyri/Kilimooku .
https://www.instagram.com/p/B0ejEZoF6xf/
 
jeannie August 29, 2019
My beloved mother in law used to eat her mom goes in the shower. I always thought that was a marvelous idea.
 
Danielle August 29, 2019
Autocorrect is not your friend. I’m having a good chuckle over here😂