How to Cut a Mango
If you've ever cut into a mango, you'll know that its pit is not some demure little bobble you can just scoop out on the way to your fruit salad. This wide, oblong pit is tough as nails and runs through the entire length of the fruit. There's no getting through it, but there is a great way around it, so read on to learn this Martha-approved technique for delicious diced mango.
What You Need
The mango is the only thing you'll want to wrangle, so set yourself up to safely slice and dice by securing your cutting board to the countertop. A damp paper towel or piece of rubber shelf liner will work great. Since this technique requires some semi-skillful hand maneuvering, use a smaller blade so it is easier to control, such as a 4-to-5-inch utility knife.
Take a good look at your mango. Can you see and feel the large "cheeks" on each side? This is where most of the flesh will be. Lay the mango down on its side, oriented so both cheek sides are hovering over the cutting board. Grip one of the cheeks with your non-knife hand. Position your knife on the opposite side, about 1/4 inch away from the stem, and slice it off in one large section. Your knife should get as close to the pit as possible without cutting into it. This can take some practice, but the ideal scenario is that you should feel the flat side of the knife scrape against the side of the pit.
Rotate the mango so the stem is facing away from you and repeat with the other cheek, using the pit section for a grip. Be aware of where your fingers are at all times—they should never cross paths with where your knife will be slicing. Using your non-knife hand, position the mango upright and grip the top, almost making a claw gesture with your hand (don't forget to tuck your pinky in!). Slice along the sides of the pit, cutting off the two smaller sections.
Remove the Skin
You're almost able to enjoy the literal fruit of all of your labors, but first you need to cut it away from the skin. Preparing the mango the following way will cut through the tough fruit fibers, making it easier to eat. Hold one of the two large sections of mango in your palm, skin-side-up. Using the tip of your knife and going from top to bottom, make evenly spaced cuts across the fruit; be sure not to cut through the skin. Rotate the mango so the vertical cuts look horizontal and create a crosshatch pattern by repeating the same slicing motion from top to bottom. Gently press on the back of the mango skin to turn it inside out. Holding the fruit over a bowl or cutting board, carefully cut the pieces away from the skin. Repeat this step with the other large section.
For the two smaller sections of mango, lay them on your cutting board skin-side-down. With the section parallel to your cutting board, grip one end with your fingers to hold it in place and position the knife at the other end. Flatten your knife and slowly slice the fruit away from the skin, being extra careful once you get closer to the end. Once the skin is removed from both sections, dice the fruit into pieces and add them to the bowl.
How to Use Mango (In Case You Need Ideas)
Now that you're done, if you just wanted to eat your hard-won mango right out of the prep bowl, that would be a fine way to use it (we suggest you elevate each bite by sprinkling a little flaky sea salt on top).
Looking to get a little more cheffy? Mango has a distinct flavor; think sweet, tart, floral, and a touch buttery. This combination of flavors is what makes the mango complex enough to carry a whole dish, as shown in this super-easy granita and salsa recipe. But its real superpower is that it can slip seamlessly into the background of a variety of different dishes, like this fresh, summery grilled chicken salad. And you can either let the mango's pure sweetness take control in something like a mango chutney, or balance it out with yogurt and turmeric in this healthy smoothie.