Mangoes originated in Southeast Asia or India, and India is still the primary producer (it grows more mangoes than all other fruits combined). Latin American countries and the Caribbean islands are also avid consumers of this luscious fruit. When ripe, the flesh is soft and exceptionally juicy, to the point where eating a mango can be a fairly messy business. But the taste is matchless, somewhat like a mix of peach and pineapple, only sweeter than either.


The size of a mango depends on the variety; it is not an indicator of quality or ripeness. Although there are differences in colour according to variety, most mangoes start off green and develop patches of gold, yellow, or red as they ripen. A ripe mango will yield to slight pressure when held between your hands. The skin should show a blush of either yellow-orange or red, which will increase in area as the fruit ripens. A completely greenish grey skin indicates that the mango will not ripen properly.

A perfectly ripe mango will have an intense, flowery fragrance; it should not smell fermented or have overtones of turpentine. Black speckles on the skin are characteristic of this fruit as it ripens, but an over abundance of black spots on a ripe mango may indicate damage to the flesh beneath. A loose or shriveled skin is also a sign of a mango past its prime.

Leave underripe mangoes at cool room temperature for a few days to soften and sweeten, very warm temperatures can cause an off flavour to develop. Place two mangoes in a paper bag to speed ripening (or, if you don't have two mangoes, put another fruit such as an apple or banana in with the mango). Ripe mangoes will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator.

Because the mango flesh clings to both the sturdy skin as well as the large, flat stone in the middle, it can be a challenge to peel and pit. For flatter types of mangoes, hold the fruit stem-end up, with one of the narrow ends facing you. Cut vertically on one side of the pit. Then cut another slice off the other side of the pit; a band of fruit will remain around the pit. Use a paring knife to carefully loosen each half-fruit from its thick skin, then slice it. (Or, without peeling the fruit, score the flesh of each half into cubes, being careful not to slice through the skin; then turn the fruit inside-out so the cut side pops outward, and slice the cubes off the skin.) Cut away the band of fruit left around the pit, then peel off the skin.

To slice a rounder mango, concentrate on one side of the fruit at a time: Hold the mango in your hand and score the skin into four lengthwise portions, then peel each quarter section like a banana. After peeling, slice the flesh where you scored it, then run the knife under it to free it from the pit; carefully remove the flesh. Treat the other side of the fruit the same way.