Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cutting a Mango


This is how I like to cut mangoes, to save the most juice and maximize the fruit off the pit or seed. 

I like to cut mangoes on a hard surface that’s not porous. Some cutting boards are made of wood or a porous plastic that soaks up mango juice, so I prefer to use a plate or other nonporous surface so I can keep more of the juice. 

Mangoes have a narrow oval seed or pit in the middle, along the length of the fruit, so you can’t just cut them straight across or any old way, because the seed is very hard.  Some mango seeds are very thick and others are rather thin, depending on the variety of mango. Usually the hybrids have narrower seeds.

Figure out which end is the stem side and which end is the tip. Hint: the stem side has the dot on it, where it was attached to the tree. 

Hold the mango semi upright so that the tip is pointed downward and the stem side is pointed upward, but so that the entire mango is slightly at an angle. With a sharp knife, I will slice down about 1/2” to the right of the seed, so that the knife is rubbing against the seed as it comes down. 


The first cut: about 1/2" from the stem. I'm holding the mango at an angle, it's not straight up and down.
That gives me one nice slice. 

First slice. The mango pit is barely visible - it's a small white dot on the left side of the photo.  

I’ll rotate the mango and then slice again along the other side of the pit to get a second oval slice. These two oval slices are where most of the fruit is. Now the mango seed is revealed, encircled in mango flesh.

Second slice, knife rubbing alongside the seed. 

Two good ovals. Sometimes, one side of the mango is riper
(and mushier) than the other side. 


Then I like to take the knife and insert the tip along the skin of the mango and run it in a complete circle around the seed, cutting as close to the skin as possible. Then I remove the skin. 



Insert knife into center oval (the one with the seed). 

Circle knife around skin and remove skin. 
Now is the tricky part because the mango pit is very slippery. So I will grab the pit across the middle between two fingers and hold it upright and firmly against the cutting surface. Next comes 4 knife cuts. 

Grasp the mango seed firmly. 

Slice at an angle along one "edge" of the seed. 

A triangle of mango flesh falls off from this "edge."

Slice the other side of the same "edge," to get another
triangle wedge of fruit. 

Go to the other edge or side of the mango seed. 

Slice along the second edge. 

Last slice: very little seed to hold onto. 
If I don’t hold the mango firmly enough, then it can slide all over the place. The last cut is the trickiest, and usually has the least amount of fruit. But now all the fruit is off the seed.

The mango seed, mostly clean.
At this point, it's not worth scraping, but it's great to chew on! 


For the two side ovals of fruit, I can either scoop the fruit away from the skin with a spoon. Or make parallel cuts along the fruit or even square cuts and then scoop the fruit away. 


Diagonal slices into the mango "side oval."



Square mango pieces. 

Scooping out slices of mango from the skin. 

The remaining mango skin. 

Then since I really like mangoes, I will happily nibble on the seed or any bits of fruit that are stuck to the skin and are just too hard to cut away. I won't show any pictures of that - it's mostly mango on my face.  Make sure to wash up afterwards - "mango face" is very messy. If you're allergic to mango sap (but can otherwise eat mangoes), get someone else to cut up the mango for you, or wear gloves. 


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