How to cut a mango

In case my last post inspired you to go out and buy a mango, here’s how to cut one.

For some reason I always used to cut mangoes in four pieces and then try to slice/pry each piece off of the pit. This was squishy and difficult. Maybe I am the only one who cut mangoes the hard way for most of my life, and you already know how to do this, but in that case you can just enjoy the pictures of tasty, tasty mango.

You’ll need a thin, sharp knife and a mango.

First, stick the knife into the mango like this to see how deeply you can cut into the mango before you’ll hit the seed. Often it’s farther than I think.

Then, slice off the first side to the depth that you’ve already determined.

It’ll come out looking something like this, with maybe a bit of the seed showing. (This is good; it means you cut as close as possible and got as much delicious mango off the seed as you could.)

Cut the second side the same way.

Now it’s a bit hard and you’ll get juice on your hands, but you can gently but firmly hold the mango seed between your thumb and forefinger (it will squish a little probably) while you cut off the flesh around the rim of the seed.

You can score the big mango pieces into fancy-looking little squares like this. Ian is totally responsible for this picture; I don’t normally bother cutting them into such small and pretty pieces.

Then there’s always some mango pulp that you can’t cut off the seed. Not pictured, but the most fun: Messily eating this off the seed, with mango juice all over my fingers and face.

A better mango

Mangoes are my favorite fruit, so this is important.

Guys, I found a new and better kind of mango.

It’s called a Kiett mango. Completely green even when fully ripe (as you can see above), Kiett mangoes have a great flavor, sweet and a little tangy, and are completely un-stringy. One was clearly not a large enough sample size, so I tried three of them (two from the Ithaca Wegmans and one from the Geneva Wegmans).

But what do I mean, a better mango? The iconic mango, the one you probably think of when you think ‘mango’ if you live in the U.S., is the Tommy Atkins. To me this always sounded more like the name of a grenade or a WWII infantryman than the name of a fruit. It turns out it is actually the term for a common soldier in the British Army, but the fruit is named after Thomas Atkins, who found the mango on his land in Florida. The mango is big and has a nice color, either red or a mixture of green and red, like this:

Tommy Atkins mangoes were a treat when I was growing up, and I ate them for years and years and years, and loved them. They were the only mangoes I had ever eaten. It turns out, though, that they’re kind of the red delicious apples of the mango world. They’re a nice color, easy to ship, and disease resistant, but their taste isn’t great and they’re very fibrous and stringy.

So then I discovered Ataulfo mangoes (Champagne mangoes are a kind of Ataulfo). Often sold in NYC at supermarkets and bodegas, they’re smaller, flattened, and yellow. They have a creamy, fiberless texture. They taste much better than Tommy Atkins and are easier to eat. But even so, they’re very sweet, hardly tangy at all. Here’s an Ataulfo mango on the left and a Kiett mango on the right:

Kiett mangoes are a good middle ground: tangy like a Tommy Atkins, but with a much better flavor and the smooth texture of an Ataulfo. At least, they’re the best I’ve found so far in New York State.

See if you can find any Kiett mangoes! Their season (in California, where they are grown) is August until late October. I got mine in mid-October, and last week the Ithaca Wegmans said they were trying to get more.