Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mango Madness: Mango Season in Nepal

We are solidly in mango season here in South Asia, birthplace of the mango and millions of mango lovers. Wikipedia tells me that India is the world's largest producer of the fruit, but that its harvest only makes up one percent of the world's mango trade because the country consumes most of its own output. I do not blame you, India -- fresh, ripe mangoes are like the sweet, juicy gateway drug of fruits. So overpowering is the mystic allure of the mango, it may have inspired Chris Kattan's recurring Saturday Night Live character, Mango.

"Can you know the mighty ocean? Can you lasso a star from the sky? Can you say to a rainbow... 'Hey, stop being a rainbow for a second'? No! Such is Mango!"
Photo credit: www.mymodernmet.com

But back to edible mangoes. I have been enjoying living in such close proximity to one of the world's great mango cradles because the mangoes I get here are so tasty and cheap, especially compared to the presumably imported varieties I sampled in the States.

I suppose there is no "right" way to eat a mango, and much as the advertising geniuses at Reese's Peanut Butter Cups would have you believe, you can probably tell a lot about someone by how he or she eats a mango. When eating the fruit raw and unadulterated, all mango lovers run into a somewhat stubborn pit. I have found two good ways to go about dealing with this pit in a way that maximizes mango munching.

First, "the hedgehog." Slice the fruit of the mango off of the pit as best you can. With a sharp knife, score the remaining sections, taking care not to pierce the outer skin.

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As you bend the skin of the fruit back and invert the sliced section, the pre-sliced portions stick out for your easy access. In some cases this resembles a hedgehog. In all cases this makes for easy pit-free enjoyment of your mango; this happens to be Claudine's favorite method.

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Second, "the fat kid." Slice the mango in half lengthwise, cutting along the edge of one side of the pit.

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Like a halved grapefruit, the two halves of your mango can be eaten with a spoon.

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No need for fancy slicing or hedgehogs, just get down in it like a fat kid. You will have to pry the pit loose using your spoon and if you want to do this method correctly, you should probably desperately scrape and lick as much flesh as possible off of that pit before you discard it. It should come as no surprise that "the fat kid" is my favorite mango eating method. I have plenty of photographic proof that I had years of practice in this realm from approximately 1987 to 2005.

Mango lovers near and far, do you have a favorite method for eating fresh mangoes? Please share with us in the comments!

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