Enjoying a Mango

How does one describe the virtues of a mango?  Silky smooth in texture, exotically citrusy & floral in scent, and sweet with just a hint of sour in the background is how I would attempt to do so.  Plentiful and ripe at the moment, these tropical fruits come in several varieties.  It seems that mangoes are available year round, but not all types are in season every month of the year.  Grown in several parts of the world, the ones we consume the most here in the United States come from the Caribbean, Central America, and parts of South America.  It's fun to try different types whenever they're available at the markets, because each one has just a slightly different flavor and texture. 

Although I will eat just about any mango, I do seem to be partial to champagne mangoes (Ataulfo) which come from Mexico; they are the smallest of all mangoes.  Every mango has a large seed at its core, but the champagne ones have the smallest, giving one more fruit to enjoy.  Mangoes can be bought unripe at the supermarket and then ripened at home.  They can be left out on the counter until they give to pressure when gently squeezed.  However, if you want to enjoy a mango that very same day, make sure it's ripe.  My favorite way of eating a mango is having it sliced as thinly as possible and straight from the refrigerator; it has to be cold for me.  This is especially welcomed after a spicy meal of curry, a hot dish of Mexican or some ultra zippy meal from the Caribbean.  One mango can usually placate two people, but if you must know, I've been known to eat an entire one myself!

In terms of peeling and cutting them, there are several methods out there and if you have a particular favorite, stick with it.  My own method requires nothing more than a sharp knife and a steady hand.  Let me show you what I do in my kitchen.

This champagne mango is ripe and ready to be eaten.  It's glistening because I just removed it from the refrigerator.

With the point of a sharp knife, cut long vertical slits down the length of the mango in an X pattern.

 The peel will come off in 4 quadrants.

Beginning from the top of the mango, pull down the peels until you almost reach the bottom. 

Holding the peel ends together, slice off each 'cheek' until you have removed them in one big piece.

My personal taste is to have each of these halves sliced as thinly as possible.  Cut the remaining flesh of the mango off the pit.

When all is said and done, your mango pit should look like this.  No flesh left whatsoever.

Arrange the mango on a plate and enjoy!

Are you craving a mango yet?  I certainly hope so because these fruits are loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and fiber.  According to mango.org, one cup of cut up mango contains only 100 calories, so this is dessert without the guilt.  The next time you're at the supermarket and notice the bins full of mangoes, buy a few to enjoy at home.  Once ripe, the mangoes can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week before being sliced up.  A sliced up mango will keep chilled in the refrigerator, well covered, for up to one day without any problems.  Delight in a mango soon!        


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