Thursday, August 15, 2013

How To Peel a Mango - Step by Step Tutorial with Photos

I hate that feeling when you want to buy a food item, but have no idea how to prepare it, so you avoid it! What a bummer!
I was reminded (Hi Daddy!) that mangos can be really frustrating to open, and I thought I'd share a detailed tutorial on how I finally figured out the best way to peel a mango, without ending up with a pile o' mess, and very little salvageable fruit!

The trick?  Open it like an avocado!

First you have to learn which way to hold the mango, then score it all the way around, then twist to release from the giant pit.
Do this on both sides, and you are left with two halves of fruit, plus the whole pit in a middle third piece.
Then, scoop flesh out of each half, like an avocado!

Check it out!

Start with a good paring knife.

Stand the mango upright, so the 'sides' are facing you, and the 'front and back' are to the left and right. Does that make sense?? The front and back are the wide sides, and the 'sides' are the shorter edge sides.
This step is super important, because this is the way the pit faces inside.
If you turn it the other way and cut, that is when you end up with very little fruit, and said pile o' mess.

(semi-side angle of same photo)

(side view of same photo)

Now, place your knife just to the left of the center and cut straight down.
If you immediately hit the pit, stop, and start over, a bit further out to the left.

It is possible you will be able to cut straight through, which is fine!

If not, and you hit the pit about halfway down, keep the knife in, and rotate the fruit, so you are essentially scoring it all the way around.

Basically, sometimes the pit is flat on the sides, and sometimes it is more rounded. If it is flat, you should be able to cut straight down next to it, but if it is rounded you will hit the widest part of it halfway down, and then you should use the score and rotate method.
This latter method is similar to cutting open an avocado, where the pit is round!

Using the avocado method, this mango half should rotate and twist right off, and you can see a little indent where it was attached to the pit.

Side one, done!

Now, repeat on the other side!

Rotate the remaining fruit 180 degrees, and again, start cutting straight down, slightly to the left of the center.
Like before, if you hit the pit right away, start over again slightly more to the left.  If you hit it about halfway down, just score and rotate, then twist the fruit off of the middle put section.

You are now left with two whole sides of mango fruit, and that whole middle section is the pit!

Now, with a big mango like this one, there is some fruit left on the pit piece, on the sides and bottom. The pit pretty much goes all the way to the top, so there is no extra fruit at the top.

You can trim small, curved pieces off of the left, right, and bottom if you wish.

There! Now you truly have all the fruit off of the pit, and have wasted nothing!

But wait!!
Phase two.
Now, you peel the mango away from the skin.

There are two possible methods here.
And both are methods used to get avocado out of the peel.

You can score it, as shown below, cutting lines vertically and then horizontally, almost all the way down, but not cutting through the peel, making little squares.

Then, use a big spoon to scoop all the little mango squares out of the skin.
The flesh is pretty stuck to the peel, so it might take a bit of muscle, but you got this!

I find that, because it is rather stuck to the skin, the squares do not end up as cute and perfect as you initially had hoped.
Though, still tasty!

For this reason, I prefer method two.

Skip the scoring, and just go around the whole edge, right where the flesh connects to the skin with a large spoon.

After the edges are scored, use the spoon to lift the mango away from the skin.
If it is pretty stuck, I like to flip it over onto the cutting board, and pull the skin back, off the fruit, which seems to give better leverage, than the spoon.

Keep pulling the skin back...

And, done!!

Now, you have two perfect mango halves, which you can slice as thin as you like, into slices, kind of like you would with a melon.
Or, again, like an avocado!

Remember these guys?? The tiny edge and bottom pieces we cut off of the pit last?
You can peel the skin off of these a you would a melon slice, as well.
These tiny pieces are usually my mid-cutting snack! A reward for this work!

And now you are done!!
We have wasted no fruit, we have no pile o' mess. And we have lovely, delicious, pretty mango squares or slices to enjoy!

Cutting a mango. It can be done!
So There.