I love mangoes, they are one of my favorite fruits. I love their nectary sweetness, the chewy, melty texture, and the tropical, citrusy aroma. I do not love cutting them up. My mother taught me to cut up mangoes first by peeling them, then cutting wedges off the peeled mango. It works just fine except that it takes a while to peel the mango and then you have to hold your slimy, sticky mango while you cut. Also you don’t get very “pretty” pieces that way. I am somewhat finicky and don’t like to get my hands sticky so mangoes were a major source of anxiety for me. One year my anxiety about cutting mangoes had gotten to the point where I would buy them just to watch them rot in the refrigerator. So I asked for one of these for Christmas. Normally I am not a big fan of unitaskers like this. However, sometimes when you’re afraid of a technique, a little helpful gadget can get you through to the other side. I no longer use my mango slicer-I prefer to cut them with a knife in the following way-but if you too are afraid of cutting a mango, there’s hope. Try it this way, and if it still doesn’t work for you, then feel free to pick up your own mango slicer. No one should have to live without mango in their life.
First off, forget peeling a mango. It is far easier, I have found, to slice the flesh from the skin than to try to peel the skin off first. The reason the mango slicer worked so well for me was that it helped me visualize where the seed was inside the mango flesh. Having used the blade of the mango slicer to separate the seed from the flesh gave me the confidence to make that cut with my knife instead. Hold your
mango vertically on your cutting board cut around the flat seed, slightly off center, removing each half of the mango and leaving the seed in the center. If you aren’t sure where to cut just start at the center. When you hit the seed your knife won’t be able to go any farther, so just continue to the side until the flesh gives again, then-congratulations!-you’re around the seed.
Once you have your two mango pieces, whether by knife or slicer, the procedure is the same. Hold one half of the mango in your palm-flesh side up-and gently score it like a checkerboard. You want to cut the flesh without cutting all the way through the skin on the other side. You do not want to use your sharpest paring knife for this because if you do cut through the skin you will cut your hand. Next, press against the skin side with your thumb and pop out your mango “porcupine.”
Finally, just use your knife to slice off the cubes into a bowl. Repeat with the second mango half. That’s it. It’s not the easiest fruit in the world-I still procrastinate until my mangoes are slightly over ripe-but at least I can now satisfy a craving when it hits. You can practice making different sized cuts resulting in larger or smaller cubes for recipes. I have found it is easiest to make large cuts then simply the chop your cubes to the size you want.
Want to learn how to make the cut with other difficult ingredients? Go to Knife Skillz class.
Posted in Tips and Tricks