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Chop Chop: How to Cut a Mango

May 13, 2011

When shopping for mango, choose one based on when you plan to use it.  Mango used that day should be slightly soft, but with no sinking spots or discoloration.  If you don’t plan to use it for a few days, then choose a firmer mango.  Don’t bother judging it by color, but by firmness and smell.  They should have a sweet aroma detected from the stem (photo below).   Keep mango away from refrigeration until ripe.  Ripe mangos last about a week in the fridge, or several months if frozen.  Okay, now for the fun…

The easiest and safest way to cut a mango is when the skin is still attached.  Skinning a mango first will result in loss of juices from the fruit and possibly a slippery, dangerous mess.

Place the mango on the cutting board so that the stem faces you.  Use a large knife to cut as close to the pit as possible (between 1/2 and 1/3 into the fruit).  There should be two clean (sort of half) pieces and one with the complete pit.

You may quarter the mango or leave in two large pieces.

Carefully score a cross pattern through the flesh of the fruit.  To score is simply to make shallow cuts, so be sure not to go through the skin.  Otherwise, you may end up with a bunch of bite-sized mango pieces with the tough skin on one side.  Speaking from experience, that result is no fun.

This is called the Hedgehog Cut.  My cut is a little abstract and less of a formal cube, but you get the idea. My initial cut was too diagonal.  To make cubes, score straight with no slant in the pattern.  Push the skin inside out with one hand, then with a paring knife cut the pieces away from the skin.

Any large chunks may be cut, so that each piece is roughly the same size.  It’s not necessary, except for appearance.

If you are puréeing mango into a smoothie or sorbet, save yourself some time and effort.  Begin with the first step of cutting the mango away from the pit, then score the fruit lengthwise. Use a regular silverware spoon to scoop out the fruit slices.

If there is still plenty of fruit around the pit, use a paring knife to carefully trim edible pieces.  All of the odd cuts are perfect for purées or a quick snack while you’re hard at work in the kitchen!

Chop chop!

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