April 23, 2007

How to Cut Up a Mango

You need:
1 very sharp knife
1 cutting board
1 large spoon
ripe mango

First: Make sure your mango is ripe. It should be slightly soft and give at little to touch, but your finger should not go through the skin. If it does, that is an over ripe mango-throw it out! If the mango is hard, let it sit out on the counter a day or so ripen. The color/appearance of the skin is not important and varies by the variety of mango, however, avoid bruised fruit.

Second: Hold the mango so the longest part is going up and down. You want the flat pit in the middle. Cut on one side of the pit. If you feel resistance (i.e. if you are cutting into the pit) pivot your knife towards the skin slightly as you cut down. Repeat for the other side.

You should now have two curved "halves" and one center slice with the pit in the middle.

Third: Lay the middle part flat on the cutting board. Take the tip of your knife and pierce through the mango, as close to the skin as you can without breaking it. Now you can either leave the knife in the same place and pivot the mango around the knife to remove the skin, or you can move the knife around the inside edge of the skin to cut it off. I prefer the pivot method, but you have to be careful not to brush against the rest of the knife.

You should now have a whole ring of mango skin and a pit surrounded by flesh. Discard the skin.

Fourth: Take your knife and slice off any thick pieces of flesh from the pit. Cut slices off the sides. Depending on the mango and how closely you cut to the pit during your first cutting, you may or may not yield a lot of mango. Place the mango pieces in a bowl. Discard the pit. Personally, I like to suck all of the bits of flesh and juice off the mango pit before I throw it away, sort of like a Popsicle. You can also save the pit, wrap it in a wet paper towel, put it in the cabinet and it will sprout into a little mango plant.

Fifth: Use the tip of your knife to score vertical lines into the mango half. Do not go all the way through the skin.

Pivot and repeat to form little cubes.

Sixth: Place your spoon between the skin and the flesh and scoop out the cubes. Depending on how big your mango is, you may be able to do this in one try.

Scoop out all of the fruit, if any of the cubes stick together, cut them apart with your knife. Repeat for the remaining half. Place cubed fruit in bowl.

Seventh: Scrape out any bits from the empty skin. Discard the skin or save it for presentation.

Two good sized mangos yield about 3 cups of cubed flesh.

My thoughts:
We just bought a case of some of the sweetest juiciest mangos ever so I thought it might be a good time to share a little how-to. I remember when I first bought a mango I was stymied by the oddly shaped, flat pit. After a try or two I realized that it is quite easy and you can cube the fruit while you peel!