Peel a mango, remove its pit, without mess and in less than a minute. Same for any other stone fruit.
Mangoes are my favorite fruit. This even though they have a bad reputation for being really messy, wasteful to peel, and knife-dulling stringy to remove from the pit. Other than that, there is nothing better! Today, I was slipping a mango from its peel and sliding the pit out when I was overcome with grief for those who were never shown how.
This is a post about peeling fruit – really. The method works for any stone fruit like peaches and plums. Once I had a boss who laughed at me for peeling a plum, but that is where you find the insecticide residue, so I feel vindicated. A friend once called me a “fruit nut” because I like fruit over chocolate; so I get mangoes, he gets small boxes of raisins.
Choose the fruit. A mango should be purchased firm/hard. I envy those who live where they grow on trees and are branch ripened, but here, at our markets, soft mangoes have probably gone bad. Buy mangoes a couple days before you want them and let them ripen in the kitchen.
Fig 1 shows the all the tools needed to cleanly slide the peel and slip the pit.
Click any image to see full resolution.
The pit of a stone fruit is not a sphere, but 2 flattened halves pressed together with a clear rim or septum where they join. On a peach or plum, the peel shows an indented line from stem to tip, right above the septum.
A mango pit has 2 very flat halves and its peel shows the septum with stem-to-end edge.
I am having a hard time describing this, but it is almost always obvious. The septum is where you begin.
Slice the fruit from peel to pit all around its perimeter (along the rim, or septum) as in Fig 2.
Once sliced all around and through to the pit, push the spoon into the pit. This works for all fruits with seed-stones, and is the only way for mangoes which are fibrous near the pit.
Using a knife to remove the pit is badly wasteful and converts peach-like flesh to fiber. The idea here is to scrape the pit surface from all directions to separate fruit from pit.
Fig 3a shows insertion of spoon, open side against pit surface. Fig 3b shows dragging the spoon around the circumference and over the pit surface to sever the flesh.
Once the spoon has separated one side of the mango, turn it over and do the same to the other side.
The side that is freed will come away from the pit. Minimum wastage!
Figs 4a, 4b show the opened mango after both sides have been released. Use spoon to lift pit and put to one side.
Remove from peel
Here is the trick to remove mango skin with minimum wastage. Fig 5 demonstrates that you should turn your spoon so open side is toward the flesh.
The spoon easily slides around the mango, separating flesh and peel with little mess.
Lift out the fruit with your spoon, then the other half from its peel. Result?
Fig 6 shows the freed mango. It has the consistency of a peach but with (to me) a much more heavenly flavor.
So what do you do with a mango? On a hot day, I share one with my wife and it is a cooling treat.
My wife has a really good recipe for a simple lemon freezer ice cream. Just mix, pour into a pan and freeze, no cranking. Served with mango chunks, it is a wonderful end to a meal with friends.
There must be many more ways to use it.
Serve mango fruit fresh – it can be stored in a refrigerator for a few days, but don’t push it. Heating, canning, freezing; all remove the (I don’t know what) from the mango and make it drab. My experience: if I find canned mango juice that tastes like the real thing, it is a Food Chemist’s finest – chock full of inorganics that spoof your flavor sensors. Me? Fresh is best.
p.s. How widespread is this mango technique? It is unknown in every circle of American friends I have known. But. I got the basic idea from a BBC Hercule Poirot show. So, it is common knowledge somewhere in the world, but where?
Why a food post on a tech blog? Because I cannot find a receptive venue for the presentation. So today, we look away from the grim task of chronicling the fall of technical growth and loss of opportunity here and around the world.
Charles J. Armentrout, Ann Arbor
2014 Aug 30
Listed under General
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