Want to learn how to eat a mango, clean it, cut it properly before you do, and store it like a professional? Then this is just the article for you. I share some great tips on how you can go about it without it being too messy!
Part of the reason why we love mangoes so much is how delicious and healthy they are. Sweet, juicy, and packed with healthy vitamins and minerals. We can also use them for so many dishes in the kitchen from desserts, baking, salads, smoothies, or eating them as they are. A favorite in our family is this mango habanero salsa!
Frequently Asked Questions
To check for ripeness, press your finger against the mango. It should leave a dent if ripe.
Take care not to press too hard since this may leave hard unattractive brown marks on the surface or simply cause the mango to go bad on these spots.
Do not be tempted to focus on color. Some mango families just like the one in this picture, are naturally green in color, even when ripe. Ripe mangoes will also have an intensive fruity aroma at the end of the stem.
When picking a mango, choose fruits that are not bruised or damaged.
Similar to most fruits and vegetables, you always want to start by cleaning your mango before you eat it.
Properly wash your hands with soap and water before handling fresh mangoes. Cut off any damaged or bruised parts then use your hands or a vegetable brush to wash under clean, running water.
According to the FDA, you do not need to clean fruits and vegetables with soap. Finally, wipe washed mango with a clean kitchen cloth.
Mango peels have a slightly bitter taste and are totally ok to consume. However, you will have to clean them properly as sometimes the skin tends to have leftover ferterlizer and chemicals used during farming.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the sap of the mango contains a chemical known as urushiol. This substance is also found in poisonous ivy and poisonous oak. It is advisable for people with allergies against urushiol to avoid eating the skin of the mango, to prevent an allergic reaction.
How to eat a mango
Time needed: 5 minutes.
When people think about eating mangoes, the main issue is normally whether to cut it or not and how to go about it. Truth be told, there is no right or wrong way to eating a mango. It is very simple and is actually, more or less similar to eating other fruits like peaches.
- Eat like an apple (with your hands)
The first method is, to simply eat a mango biting into it like an apple, without a knife. Needless to say, you should wash it first. This method has the added benefit that you get to up your fiber intake when you also eat the skin. On the other hand, the skin tastes bitter and could be unpleasant, especially for those not used to it.
Alternatively, bite into the mango and use your teeth to pull off the peel. This will leave you with the ripe flesh which you can simply bite into. The downside to this method? It tends to get very messy but don't let this stop you! You can reduce the mess by hunching over a sink or holding a bowl close to your mouth. You may also want to have your handkerchief with you, to wipe off the mango juices.
- Using a glass
Want to eat a mango without leaving much of a mess? Then this method is just the thing for you. Place a knife a quarter of an inch away from the middle of the mango and make two vertical cuts on each side.
Once you make the two cuts, you will end up with three pieces (that is, two fleshy pieces and the middle piece which contains the pit).
Finally, lay each of the fleshy pieces against a drinking glass and slide down using the edge of the glass like a rounded knife. The flesh will come off easily, into the glass. Transfer the mango flesh to a plate, cut with a knife into biteable sizes, then eat using a fork or spoon.
- Using a knife
To start with, always work with a clean knife and chopping board. Locate the stem and make sure it is at the top.
Next, place your knife a quarter of an inch away from the middle of the mango and make a vertical cut on each side.
Once you have made the two cuts, you will end up with three pieces (that is, two fleshy pieces and the middle piece which contains the pit).
Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh from each of the pieces or slice along the flesh on each side to end up with small cube or grid-shaped cuts, without cutting through the skin. Use a spoon to detach the flesh or simply bow the mango and use your mouth to bite.
As a tip, you can get mango splitters nowadays in most online shops. To use a mango splitter, simply stand the fruit with the end facing down and hold the center of the mango splitter above the mango, with the opening in the splitter aligned with the widest part of the mango. Firmly press to separate the seed from the flesh.
It is unfortunate to throw away mangoes because of poor storage. Unless you live in a tropical country, you are probably consuming mangoes that have been imported from one country or the other. This results in a lot of greenhouse gas emissions, especially if your produce was transported to your country by plane.
- Temperature - keep uncut whole mangos at room temperature. Mangoes are tropical fruits and will therefore do best when stored at room temperature. It may be tempting to keep them in the fridge but this is not good as they tend to lose their taste when kept in the refrigerator. The only exception where it is okay to store mango in the fridge is when it has already been cut or when the mango is ripe and you want to slow down the ripening process. In this case, keep in the fridge but consume within 5 days. Keep cut fruit in the fridge and consume it within a day or simply freeze and use it in other recipes, such as smoothies.
- Do not heap - keep in fruit baskets in a cool and dry place, and try as much as possible not to heap. Heaping leads to excess moisture, which in turn causes the mangos to go bad quicker.
- Other fruit - to keep mangos longer, do not store next to fruits such as bananas or apples. Apples, for example, produce a natural plant hormone known as ethylene which speeds up the ripening process.
- Cooking - another way to preserve mangoes is by storing them in the form of chutneys and marmalades. Both require cooking but will keep for a while in the fridge, once prepared. This is an effective way of quickly using up excessively ripe mangos.
Ripening at home
Ripening mangos at home is actually easier than you think. I have personally tested each of these methods and it is always amazing to see the mangos transform from being unripe and hard to ripe!
- Store unripe mangoes at room temperature, and not in the refrigerator as this will only slow down the ripening process. They will continue to ripen when kept at room temperature over a couple of days.
- Wrap in a newspaper or keep them in a paper bag, then store it in a dark place in the kitchen or pantry.
- Dig a hole in the ground and fill it with banana leaves or peels then place the unripe mangos in the hole and cover with soil. This works especially best if the mangos are still very firm and have a long way to go before they ripen. Check on them every 5-7 days. Also, this method will only work in summer or, if you live in a warm country.
Sort out bad mangoes
Here are a few indicators that will enable you to tell whether a mango has gone bad. Some fruits will depict all of these factors, while some may show just one or two.
- As a general rule, the peel will start to wrinkle and develop dark-brown discolored spots. However, this alone does not mean the fruit has gone bad as some types of mangoes develop spots as they ripen.
- The fruit will feel excessively soft to the touch.
- If you cut into an overripe fruit that has gone bad, the flesh may also be brown in some sections.
- One of the best ways to check for decay or the onset of it is to smell. The cut flesh will have a distinct fermentation smell caused by ethylene gas.
- Presence of mould on the skin, as is the case with most fruits and vegetables.
While you can eat mangoes that have gone bad, this is not advisable as they may contain bacteria and viruses which are harmful to the health.
- Freezing - to freeze dice or slice into and transfer to a suitable airtight container. It will keep in the freezer for up to 12 months. This is particularly useful if you notice that your fruit is getting too ripe. Use the frozen fruit in smoothies and juices, or simply thaw to use the puree in recipes.
As always I am very happy to hear from you. Let us keep the discussion going, share your favorite tips regarding mangoes in the comment section below.