Mangos are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Their sweet, tropical taste makes them a favorite for many people. But when it comes to actually eating a mango, there seems to be some debate over the proper technique. Should you just bite into it like an apple? Or is there a better way to get to all that delicious mango goodness?
Peeling and Cutting a Mango
For those who don’t like to just sink their teeth into a mango, there are a few options for cutting and peeling them. One popular method is what’s known as the “hedgehog” technique. To do this, stand the mango upright and use a sharp knife to cut vertical slices into the mango without cutting through the skin. Then take the knife and make horizontal slices to create cubes. Use a spoon to scoop out the mango cubes which will be sticking up like hedgehog spines.
Another technique is the grid method. Take a sharp knife and carefully slice through the mango flesh in a crosshatch pattern without cutting through the skin. Then take the knife and “bowl” out the mango by carving it from the skin. Now you’ll have nice mango cubes ready to eat.
Peeling a mango can be tricky but there are a few methods that work well. You can use a vegetable peeler to remove pieces of skin. Another option is to cut the mango cheeks off the pit first, then cut crosshatch lines into the flesh without piercing the skin. Bend the skin backwards and it should pop right off.
There are over 500 varieties of mangos grown around the world. The type of mango makes a difference in flavor but also in how it can be eaten. Some key varieties include:
|Tommy Atkins||Most common. Firm with sweet and citrusy flavor.|
|Ataulfo||Small and oval. Very sweet and creamy.|
|Kent||Rich sweet flavor with juicy flesh.|
Certain varieties like Ataulfo and Kent tend to have softer, juicier flesh that lends itself well to just biting into the mango. Other varieties may be firmer and require cutting to enjoy.
Proper Mango Cutting Technique
If you want neat, easy to eat mango cubes, follow these mango cutting steps:
- Cut off the stem end and base of the mango so it sits flat.
- Stand the mango upright and cut down along one side of the large, flat pit to slice off one mango cheek.
- Repeat on other side to remove the second cheek.
- Take one cheek and score cubes into the flesh without cutting through the skin.
- Carefully slice through the scored cubes at right angles to create cubes.
- Scoop out the cubes with a spoon. Repeat with second cheek.
This method gives nicely shaped mango cubes that are easy to eat in salads, salsa, desserts or just alone. The scoring allows the flesh to come off the skin easily.
Eating Mangos Like Apples – Is It Okay?
Some people prefer to eat their mangos just like they would eat an apple – by biting right into the whole fruit. Here are some pros and cons of eating mangos this way:
- Simple and easy – no prep needed.
- Satisfying – large, juicy bites.
- Natural – experience the whole fruit at once.
- Messy – juices will run down your chin.
- Difficult – large mango pit to work around.
- Wasteful – flesh left on pit.
If you want to try eating a mango like an apple, choose varieties like Kent with softer flesh and minimal fiber that separates from the pit. Very ripe mangos will also be easier to bite into. Just be prepared for a juicy experience!
Preparation Tips for Eating Mangos
Here are some tips for preparing mangos depending on how you plan to eat them:
- Eating mango slices – Choose firmer varieties that hold shape well. Cut cheeks off pit first.
- Mango cubes – Any variety works. Score flesh before slicing for easy removal.
- Smoothies – Use very ripe mangos that blend easily. Ataulfo or Kent work well.
- Salsas – Cut firmer mangos like Tommy Atkins into small dice.
- Just biting in – Pick ripe, soft varieties like Ataulfo or Kent.
The right prep method can provide easy, mess-free mango eating no matter how you want to enjoy this juicy, tropical fruit.
Storing Cut Mangos
Like many fruits, cut mangos will start to spoil quickly. Exposure to air causes the flesh to oxidize and encourage growth of mold and bacteria. Here are some tips for storing cut mango to maintain freshness and flavor:
- Refrigerate – Keep cut mango chilled below 40°F.
- Use an airtight container – Prevent oxygen from speeding spoilage.
- Cover surface with plastic wrap – limit exposure to more air.
- Add lemon or lime juice – Acidity slows oxidation process.
- Only refrigerate up to 2-3 days – Quality declines quickly.
Properly stored, cut mango can retain good eating quality for up to a few days. Just don’t wait too long or the flavor and texture will degrade.
Freezing Mangos for Later Use
To enjoy mangos out of season or preserve an abundance of ripe fruit, consider freezing chopped or pureed mango for long-term storage. Here are some freezing tips:
|Mango Form||Freezing Method|
|Diced||– Cut mango into 3/4-1″ cubes
– Toss with lemon juice
– Spread on sheet pan, freeze
– Transfer to airtight bag
|Pureed||– Blend mango flesh
– Mix in lemon juice
– Pour into freezer containers
– Leave 1/2″ headspace
Frozen mango will keep for about 6-12 months. It’s great for making smoothies, desserts, salsas and more any time of the year.
Drying Mangos for Preservation
Drying concentrates the natural sugar and tropical flavor of mangos for a chewy, candy-like treat. There are various ways to dry mango at home:
- Oven – Place mango slices on racks or parchment paper at 135°F for 6-8 hours.
- Dehydrator – Arrange mango slices in electric dehydrator at 135°F for 6-8 hours.
- Sun – Place slices directly in full sun for 6-8 hours, bring indoors overnight.
Dried mango slices can be stored in an airtight container for months at room temperature. Rehydrate in water for a juicy mango snack.
Delicious Ways to Use Mangos
Mangos are versatile fruits that can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. Here are some delicious ways to use fresh or prepared mangos:
- Salads with mango chunks
- Yogurt parfaits with mango
- Mango ice cream or popsicles
- Mango sorbet
- Mango curry dishes
- Glazed grilled mango
- Mango cocktails
So while you can just bite into a ripe, juicy mango, there are lots of quick and tasty ways to incorporate this tropical fruit into recipes. Mangos pair wonderfully with spicy, creamy, and sweet flavors.
While sinking your teeth into a fresh, ripe mango can be tempting, for many people, preparing and cutting the mango first provides a more pleasant eating experience. Varieties with softer, juicier flesh lend themselves best to eating the mango directly like an apple. For firmer varieties, techniques like scoring and dicing the flesh provide neat, easy to eat cubes of mango. No matter how you choose to eat them, mangos are a nutritious and delicious fruit that can be used in everything from entrees to desserts. With proper storage and freezing methods, you can enjoy fresh tasting mango any time.