Mangoes are a versatile fruit that can be used in a wide variety of recipes, or eaten as a healthy snack. They are full of antioxidants and rich in vitamins C, A, and B6. Mangoes have also been proven to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, and improve eye health. Follow these tips to properly select, prepare, and enjoy mangoes.
Selecting a Mango
Before preparing a mango, first ensure that it’s ripe. Ripe mangoes are typically heavy for their size and slightly fragrant. When pressed lightly with a thumb or spoon, a ripe mango will become slightly indented. Avoid mangoes that feel overly soft to the touch or have brown spots, as these are signs that the mango is overripe. Mangoes that aren’t yet ripe will ripen if left out on the counter or stored in a paper bag for a few days.
Finding the Pit
Mangoes have a broad flat pit, sometimes called a stone, in their center. To separate the stone from the rest of the fruit, hold the mango on its side and make a cut ¼ to ½ an inch to the side of the stem. Next, repeat this process, leaving the same distance on the other side of the stem. This separates the pit from two fleshy pieces of the mango, often referred to as the cheeks.
Scoring the Cheeks
To remove the meat from the mango’s peel, either scoop the meat out with a spoon or score the two cheeks into cubes. To score them, make several parallel cuts into the mango cheeks, without piercing the skin. Next, turn the mango 90 degrees and make perpendicular cuts, creating a grid pattern of slices. Mango pieces should be refrigerated and eaten within a few days.
Mangoes can be eaten by themselves as a snack, added to salads, smoothies and salsas, or used to top pancakes, ice cream, yogurt, or cakes. They are often used in thai dishes and added to tacos. Mango puree can also be drizzled on top of chicken or seafood dishes. Mangos can be either cooked or eaten raw, and also store well in the freezer.