The humble mango is a versatile and all-around delicious fruit. Add a few chunks to a smoothie and suddenly your boring breakfast drink tastes tropical. Add some chili powder and eat cut slices with a fork, and you’ll marvel at the fruit’s ability to deftly keep spices in check. Even eaten plain with nothing else, the mango makes one hell of a snack.
We could go on and on about the benefits, too. From a high concentration of vitamin C to a whole mess of antioxidants, eating a mango a day will do your body and your taste buds a world of good.
The issue we all run into when it comes to the mango is: how do you cut it? Yes, figuring out how to cut a mango is far from a simple task. Luckily, we’ve done the research (and the first-hand experimenting) to figure out the best ways to cut a mango. No more guessing, no more accidentally slicing a finger. These are the best ways to cut a mango, as well as some fun little hacks for eating said mango once it’s sliced (and possibly diced).
How to Tell If a Mango Is Ripe
Before we dive into our walkthrough of how to cut a mango, let’s quickly discuss how to select one. Assuming you’re picking these out yourself and not ordering online, there are a few things to keep an eye on.
When selecting a mango, you can forget about color, according to the National Mango Board (as legitimate a source on mangos as we’ve seen). Actually, the key to selecting a ripe mango is going by feel. Pick up your desired mango and give it a slight squeeze. Does it give a little? If so, it’s ripe for right-away consumption! However, if it’s too mushy or too hard, you won’t be able to enjoy it right then and there.
That said, don’t disregard a hard mango if you’re buying in bulk. Mangos will ripen if left out at room temperature. And as a special hack to speed up the ripening process, toss your mango in a brown paper bag for a couple of days and leave it on the counter. According to SFGate, brown bags trap the ethylene gasses your ripening mango (or any fruit, really) releases. By surrounding the fruit with these gasses you’ll help to speed up the ripening process, delivering a perfectly ripened mango in day or two.
Brown Paper Lunch Bags
How To Cut A Mango
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. When it comes to cutting a mango, you have a couple of different options. For starters, you can go quick and easy with a built-for-purpose mango cutter. Yes, that’s right, these brilliant little devices do exist.
See, the issue with the mango is its seed. Unlike a peach or a nectarine, mango seeds run the entire length of the fruit, and they’re oddly shaped. They’re long, flat and circular, and if you aren’t a mango expert (and, really, who is?), it’s hard to judge where it starts and stops.
Mango cutters take all the guesswork out of the equation.
Zyliss 3-In-1 Mango Slicer
To cut using a mango slicer, simply place the mango (stem-side down) in the orange tray (which looks like a bird’s beak) and fit the open whole of the slicer over the top-most point. From there, apply even, sturdy pressure to both handles as you force the blades down. When finished, you’ll have two bowl-like slices of mango, with a thin, skinny seed in the middle (likely with a little extra mango meat on the sides).
Though using a built-for-purpose mango slicer is the easiest way (and by far our favorite), it’s not the only way to cut a mango. You can likewise cut a mango with your favorite chef’s knife. To do so, locate the stem and mentally draw a straight line down to the point of the mango. Giving yourself about half an inch of breathing room on each side, cut down along your mental line. If done right, you’ll have two neatly cut mango halves to chow down on at your leisure.
The only bit of warning is that mango seeds can be hard to eye and identify. If you’re going to go the chef’s knife route, take your time, it’s easy to hit seed when you meant to hit mango!
When it comes to chef’s knives, we prefer a solid (and extremely sharp) option like this Chef Santoku Knife from Allezola. And at $20, it’s well worth its weight in mangos.
Chef Santoku Knife
How to Eat a Mango
So now that you have your two delectable mango halves sitting on your counter, what do you do? Well, you have a few options. If you opted for the mango cutter above, you can actually use that beak-like holder to skin the mango. It’s not the easiest maneuver, but doing so will result in a perfectly shaped meaty piece of mango. All you do is flip your mango half skin side up and push it down onto the plastic lip. This will essentially skin your mango for you. And from there, it’s up to you how you slice, dice or eat your fruit.
Another option with an open half of mango is to cube it. To do this, cut lines down and across the mango without breaking through the skin on the other side. Then, once fully cross-hatched, scoop the cubes out with a regular spoon. While chefs on TV tend to favor this method, we’ve found it’s a tricky maneuver unless your mango is really, really ripe. Otherwise, you run into stringy sections that your average soup or cereal spoon can’t cut through.
If your mango isn’t the ripest but you sliced it open anyway, there’s a third — and often overlooked — way to eat a mango: the grapefruit spoon.
Blasphemy? No. The word you’re looking for is “ingenuity.” If your mango is a little tough, the beauty of the grapefruit spoon is you can hack away at stringy parts without needing to score the fruit with your knife. In other words, you can use your halved mango like a bowl and eat it directly, saving you time preparing and cleaning up after. If ever there was a mango hack, this mighty grapefruit spoon is it.