The delicious and juicy mango has long been one of the world's most popular fruits. The fruit's flavor is often described as an exotic mix of pineapple and peach. Mangoes are available from April to September, but June and July usually offer the best pick and prices.
Thought to be native to India, mangoes have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. The tree is related to the pistachio and cashew and grows to an average of 50 feet in height. Each tree produces about 100 mangoes. If you haven't tried a fresh mango, you're in for a treat!
When buying a mango, make sure it has a tropical fruity aroma; unripe mangoes have no scent. A fresh mango will give slightly to the touch, but stay away from very soft or bruised fruit. Some mangoes ripen to a combination of raspberry, orange and green shades, while other varieties are golden yellow or green when ripe. If your mangoes aren't quite ripe, storing them in a paper bag for a few days will help them along. The size can vary, but larger mangoes will have more fruit in relation to the pit.
How to Store Fresh Mangoes
Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature to ripen, which may take up to 1 week. A paper bag might help them ripen sooner, but they will not ripen at temperatures below 55 degrees F.
How to Cut a Mango and Remove the Pit
Cut fresh mangoes lengthwise, along the pit.
Once you learn how to locate the mango pit, the rest is easy. The long, 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick pit runs the length of the fruit between the two plump cheeks.
- Cup the mango in your palm, then peel the skin from the flesh with a small, sharp knife.
- After determining the location of the pit and allowing for its 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness, cut through the mango lengthwise down the side of pit until its fleshy cheek is cut off. Do the same for the other side.
- Cut the remaining fruit from the pit in thin slices; use in recipes that call for diced fruit, in sauces, or serve the mango raw as an appetizer.
How to Cube a Fresh Mango
- Without peeling, cut the fruit from the cheeks, as described above, score flesh into squares about 1/2- to 3/4-inch in size, cutting to, but not through, skin.
- Gently push the mango cheek inside out, pushing fruit cubes up and apart.
- Cut chunks from the skin to serve.
(The skin can cause irritation, so it should not be eaten.)