Friday, July 29, 2016

Preparing a Fresh Mango

Mangos are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They're related to cashews and pistachios, have been harvested for over 5,000 years, and their shape is the basis for the paisley pattern. Mangos are stone fruits that grow on trees that are up to 100 feet tall.
Mangos are delicious, with yellow to orange edible flesh, but be careful with the skin, stem, and sap. People who have a sensitivity to poison ivy (urushiol) can suffer from dermatitis if the skin, stem or sap touches them. However, with careful handling, the flesh of the mango is not a problem for those people.
What do I look for when I purchase mangos?
 When you purchase a mango, do not be concerned with the color. A pink mango does not indicate ripeness. When you purchase mangos, they tend to be hard. Look for unblemished, unwrinkled mangos. Let them sit on your counter to ripen for a few days. Ripe mangos will yield gently to pressure from your finger. It will be slightly soft, but not gooey, like a ripe peach.
How do you prepare a mango?
Mangos are most delicious when eaten raw, although cooked mangos make tasty jams, chutneys, and pureed drinks. No matter how you eat them, you need to remove the flesh from the skin.
First, wash and dry your mango.
 Place on a cutting board. Make sure your knife is sharp.
 The first step is to divide the mango in thirds, lengthwise. In the center of the mango is a large pith - essentially, a fuzzy pit.
 Slice the mango in thirds, leaving the center part (pith) aside for now.
 Taking one of the sides, slowly drag your knife through the flesh as close to the skin as possible without slicing through the skin. Repeat, scoring the fruit in parallel lines.
 Turn the mango 90 degrees  and slice the flesh again. It will look like a grid pattern.
 Now, invert the mango by gently pulling the ends down pushing the outer center of the skin up. Do this as if you were turning the fruit inside out. Repeat this with the other side of the mango.
 Now, return to the pith. There is some edible flesh around it, but not nearly as much as you would expect.
 Carefully remove the skin.
 Then shave off the edible flesh. You will feel tension in the knife when you reach the pith. Do not force the knife through the pith, because it is not tasty. Just shave off 1/4" or so bits from around the pith.
 Here is the mango taken apart, with the flesh removed from the pith.
 Return to the inverted sides of the mango and gently slice off the pieces that stand up.
 The cutting board shows the unusable material from a prepared mango and the bowl shows all the edible mango flesh.
It's a bit of work to get the flesh, but it is truly delicious.

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