Mangos, delicious in smoothies, luscious in salsa, can be a slimy, slippery challenge to cut.
The best way to go about it is to start first with a ripe, but still firm fruit.
If the mango is too ripe, it will be a mushy mess, and hard to cut into pieces, though easy enough to scoop out for pulp.
Learn How to Properly Cut a Mango
How to Tell if a Mango is Ripe
- Never judge a mango by its color alone. The red color doesn't mean that it's ripe.
- Gently squeeze the mango. It should not be hard, but give slightly like a ripe avocado or a peach would.
- Smell the mango near its stem. If it's ripe, you'll notice its tropical aroma.
- A slightly ripe mango that is still firm is best for cutting. If a mango is too soft, you can scoop out the flesh and use it in smoothies, sorbet, or lassi.
- If your mango is still hard, store at room temperature until it's ripe enough to use. Never refrigerate unripened mangos; they will never ripen. But once they are ripe, you can refrigerate them for 4 to 5 days.
- To speed up the ripening process, store the mangos in a paper bag at room temperature. The ethylene gas they release will help them ripen faster.
Different Types of Mangos
There are several different types of mangos available at stores throughout the seasons.
The Haden (named after its planter) started Florida's mango growing industry, and is the most widely grown mango in the world. It's available March through May. It's green, yellow and red, with its green parts turning yellow as it ripens.
The most common variety found in the U.S. is the Tommy Atkins, which is usually available March through July. Originally grown from a Haden seed, these mangos can be have red, dark green and yellow patches. But you can't tell by looking at them if they are ripe. Best to do the sniff and squeeze test.
The Honey (a.k.a. Ataulfo) varieties are yellow with deep golden flesh. Their skins turn yellow and wrinkle slightly when ripe. These are sweet and tart with thinner skins, making them easier to eat.
There are hundreds of varieties of mangos, but just about a dozen are available in America. Different varieties are ripe at different seasons. Many are from South and Central America, Southeast Asia and India. But most of the mangos available in the United States now come from our tropical neighbors, like Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, and Guatemala.
How to Store Freshly Cut Mango
Refrigerate your freshly cut mango in an airtight container or zip-top bag (squeeze out any excess air) for 3 to 5 days.
To freeze your mango pieces, spread them out on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Once the pieces are firm, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer-safe zip-top bag for up to 6 months.
Recipes to Make With Ripe Mangos
- Mango Lassi
- Mango Sorbet
- Curried Chicken Salad with Mango
- Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa
- Pineapple Mango Mimosa
How to Cut a Mango
1 mango, ripe but firm
Cut the sides away from the pit:
Mangos have a flat-ish oblong pit in the center of it. Your objective is to cut along the sides of the pit, separating the flesh from the pit.
Holding the mango with one hand, stand it on its end, stem side down. Standing up the mango up like this you should be able to imagine the alignment of the flat, oval pit inside of it. With a sharp knife in your other hand, cut from the top of the mango, down one side of the pit.
Then repeat with the other side. You should end up with three pieces: two halves, and a middle section that includes the pit.
Make crosswise cuts in the flesh:
Take a mango half and use a knife to make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in it, but try not to cut through the peel. Invert the mango half, so the cut segments stick out like a hedgehog.
Cut or peel the segments away:
At this point you may be able to peel the segments right off the peel with your fingers. Or, you can use a small paring knife to cut away the pieces from the peel.
Cut away the pit:
Take the mango piece with the pit, lay it flat on the cutting board. Use a paring knife to cut out the pit and remove the peel. You may be able to extract a little extra mango from around the pit.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 1 to 2|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 12g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 11g|
|Vitamin C 30mg||150%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|