Eating a Mango
The Effort of Peeling and Cutting is Worth It
Mango's are a tropical fruit that appear to have originated in South Asia. While they originated in South Asia, mangoes are now cultivated throughout the tropics where they are a popular fruit. In addition to being very good to eat, mango's are also a healthy addition to one's diet.
While I was first introduced to mangoes while visiting Honduras years ago, it is only since moving to Arizona that I have come to eat them regularly. Like other fruits, modern transportation has made the mango available in much of the world. Also, like some other fruits, mangoes are best when picked ripe rather than being allowed to ripen after harvesting (although they will ripen after being harvested - one just has to have patience, something that I don't have in abundance). Being close to Mexico and having a large Mexican population used to eating mangoes, this fruit can be found in abundance in grocery stores in Tucson where I live.
Mango's are slightly pear shaped and range in size from three to nine inches long and two to four inches in diameter. Ripe mangoes are firm, but yield to gentle pressure. The color of a ripe mango tends to be mostly red, orange, yellow or a combination of these. Since it is not uncommon for ripe mangoes in the store to have some green as well, I usually use a combination of touch and color in determining if the mango is ripe enough for eating. The fruit is a rich yellow and noticeably fibrous with a taste somewhat like a peach.
While juicy and very tasty, ripe mangoes are also a very sloppy and difficult fruit to eat. The skin is thick and leathery but, on ripe mangoes, can be fairly easily separated from the fruit. As I said, my first experience with them was years ago in Central America as I was driving with friends from Honduras to Guatemala. We had stopped at a little town and brought some mangoes and my friend's 7 year old daughter immediately bit into the skin round the top of the mango, ripped about half of it off with her teeth and dove into the juicy fruit underneath. Sloppy, but effective.
Now days I generally eat mangoes with a meal, usually breakfast. My preferred method is to peel off the skin with a knife by quartering it with four slits from top to bottom. You cannot cut the mango in half, quarters or any other reasonable units because in the middle of the mango there is a large, hard pit or seed. This pit is somewhat flat and rectangular with rounded edges. The pit is only slightly shorter in height than the mango in which it is embedded. Placing the knife under the skin at the top, I gently pull the skin away from the fruit. Many times I can peel off the entire quarter section skin with one stroke. If the skin tears, as it will sometimes, I pull that section off and then return and repeat the process for the part that remained on the quarter. Peeling becomes more difficult as you advance around the mango because the fruit underneath is juicy and slippery. Once the skin is off, I try to slice the fruit off the pit. Since the pit is wide and flat you will get more fruit from the two flat sides than from the sides along the edges of the pit. Once I have removed as much as possible with the knife, I use my teeth to scrape off as much as I can from the pit.
That done, I rinse the juice off my hands, dry them and sit down with a fork and enjoy my mango.
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