Mango is one of those delicious fruits that’s a staple in many countries, but when it comes to the United States not a lot of people know what to do with it.
Rather than reaching for a knife and spending a lot of time preparing your mango, I want to show you how to eat a mango without any tools.
You’ll still need a knife and some other tools if you want to cook with your mango or make a smoothie.
Still, I think that eating a fresh mango yourself without any tools is one of the best ways to really enjoy the flavors and textures of the fruit.
Plus, if you don’t need any tools it’s a lot easier to enjoy a delicious ripe mango anytime you want one!
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How to choose ripe mango
- How to eat a mango without a knife
- And much more!
What's in this Guide?
What Are The Benefits of Eating Mango?
Mangos are one of the healthier fruits out there. A ripe mango is a great addition to your diet thanks to it’s high nutritional value. Mangos are packed full of antioxidants as well, which have a wide range of health benefits.
Mangos have even been proven to help fight against breast cancer and may help fight tumor growth in other kinds of cancers as well.
If you’re looking to start a diet or want to find a way to pack a lot of nutrients into a low-calorie diet, mangos can be one of the best foods. That’s because of one cup of mango has only 99 calories but packs 1.4 grams of proteins and 2.6 grams of dietary fiber.
The protien and fiber in mangos will help you fill up faster and keep you full longer. Plus, since mango is full of vitamins, especially vitamins C, B, and A, you’re getting a lot of value from those 99 calories.
Mangos are also a great addition to smoothies, sauces, curries, and even desserts and ice cream. While I won’t be talking about those foods so much in this article, it’s important to know how versatile mangos can really be.
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If you’re still looking for more reasons to eat mango, here’s one last thing.
Mangos have been shown to improve your energy levels and endurance, which means that they can even help boost your athletic performance if you include them in your diet regularly. While you’ll definitely get more athletic benefits using an extract or other high-potency mango product, eating them is a lot more enjoyable.
What You Need To Know About Eating Mango Without A Knife
It’s incredibly easy to eat a ripe mango without a knife, so there isn’t much about the technique that you need to know. But there are some things you need to know about mangos to make sure you’re getting a good fruit.
There are Many Types of Mango!
One of the first things you should know is that there are lots of varieties of mango. Different types of horticultural crops (most fruits and vegetables are grown using horticultural techniques instead of agriculture) are called cultivars, and there are hundreds of different cultivars of this fruit.
Unfortunately, selection in the United States is often a lot more limited. Your local grocery store probably sells ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ mangos, which could refer to several different kinds of mango.
Your grocery store might even use different cultivars of mango for different seasons.
If you want a specific type of mango you’re probably better off going to a specialty food store that carries Asian, Southeast Asian, or African varieties of produce.
If you’re shopping at your local grocery store though, you’ll probably wonder what’s the difference between red and yellow mangos.
Both will taste similar, but red mangos usually have more of a sweet piney flavor people often describe when they first taste the fruit. Yellow mangos are usually sweeter and have a more complex flavor, so they’re a great choice for eating in your hand or for adding a lot of flavor to a mango recipe.
Common varieties of mango are usually fairly affordable. You should expect to spend a little more on a mango than you would on an apple or an orange, but less than you would spend on a more exotic fruit like dragon fruit or passionfruit.
Red mangos are often a little cheaper than yellow mangos, especially when you consider that they’re the larger fruit. However, it’s often worth spending a little extra to get a sweeter yellow mango.
You may see a higher price tag for some varieties though, especially if you shop at specialty stores. There are even some Japanese mangos that have sold for thousands of dollars thanks to their incredibly sweet taste.
It’s unlikely you’ll run into any of those unless you frequent high-end produce auctions though!
How to Choose a Ripe Mango
Regardless of what type of mango you choose to eat, you’ll want to make sure you’ve chosen a ripe fruit. Underripened mango can be tough, chewwy, and bitter. Almost all underripe mango will taste more strongly of pine, but without the sweetness that makes mango a worldwide favorite.
Read More >> How to Eat a Pineapple Without a Knife?
Choosing a ripe mango isn’t difficult though. Look for a mango that doesn’t have much green on it. Yellow mango varieties should be completely yellow. Red mango varieties should have a bright red section, and the green part of the mango should cover no more than 3/4 of the fruit.
Both types of mango should also be slightly soft to the touch. If you pick up a mango and it feels rock hard in your palm, then it isn’t ripe enough to eat yet.
A firm mango that’s the right color will probably be ripe enough to eat in a couple days. A mango that’s been picked while it’s too green will take longer to ripen, and may not ripen at all before it goes bad.
You should also be able to smell the mango just slightly. If you’ve never smelled a ripe mango before, just sniff to see if the peel smells sweet. If it does, you’ve probably got a ripe mango. If it doesn’t smell at all or smells slightly bitter, it’s not ready for eating.
Mango Peels are Edible!
A lot of people in the United States think that you need to peel a mango to be able to eat it.
That actually isn’t true because ripe mango peels are perfectly edible. You can actually get a nutritional boost from eating mango peels because they have more fiber than the internal fruit, along with some additional vitamins and minerals.
However, it’s common not to eat mango peels because the peel is bitter and not as sweet as the inside. Peels can also be chewy and fibrous, which means they aren’t always easy to enjoy.
It is relatively common to pickle mango peels or use them as a garnish for drinks though!
Supplies You’ll Need to Eat Mango Without a Knife
This section is really simple. All you’ll need is yourself, a mango, and a trash can for the peel (assuming you don’t eat it) and the pit.
Of course, if you do want to see some creative tool alternatives in action, take a look at this video. These guys show how to use a credit card to slice open up a mango!
Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you use an old credit card to eat your mango! But if you really insist on using a tool for eating your mango, check out some of my faves below:
How to Eat a Mango Without A Knife: Two Methods
There are a couple of different techniques used to eat mangos without knives or other tools.
There’s the way mangos are enjoyed in the Caribbean islands that keeps mangos mostly whole and allows you enjoy their creamy but firm texture.
There’s also the method used predominantly in India, Pakistan, and Thailand where you pulp the fruit in its peel and enjoy the fruit by sucking it out through a small opening in the peel.
Both methods are relatively simple and can help you enjoy your mangos, but I find that the Caribbean peeling method works better for larger mangos and make it a lot easier to store leftover mango if you don’t finish the whole fruit.
Still, if you’re about to enjoy a particularly sweet well-ripened mango, you may want to try the Indian method!
Method 1: How To Eat Mango Without A Knife (the Indian Method)
- Step 1: Squish the Mango
- Step 2: Open the Peel
- Step 3: Enjoy your Mango
- Step 4: (Optional) Split the Peel to Enjoy the Rest
Step 1: Squish the Mango
This basically involves squishing the mango (slowly! Too much pressure will break the peel). You’ll use your fingers or thumb to squish all the way around the mango several times until the fruit inside is soft to the touch. Ideally, you should be able to press almost all the way through to the pit in the middle.
Step 2: Open the Peel
Once the fruit inside has been pulped, you can use your fingernails or teeth to cut a small opening in the peel at the top of the fruit. The top is the narrow end opposite the hard dot on the mango where it’s connected to the stem.
Step 3: Enjoy your Mango
If you’ve pulped the mango enough you should be able to drink the juice from the top, and suck the pulp out through the mango peel.
Step 4: (Optional) Split the Peel to Enjoy the Rest
It’s common to leave a little fruit un-pulped the first few times you try it. If you still have fruit in the mango peel and nothing is coming out you can just split the peel a little more and eat the fruit out from inside.
Here’s a quick video to show you how this method works!
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Method 2: How To Eat a Mango Without A Knife (The Caribbean Way)
The Indian method is great for enjoying a mango when you have a little more time, or want to avoid getting sticky while eating. But it can be time-consuming and you need fairly strong mouth and throat muscles to suck out the interior of the mango, which can leave your mouth and tongue sore.
This method might be a little messier, but it’s also faster and easier on your mouth!
- Make sure your mango is ripe
- Bite through the peel
- Enjoy the inside of the mango
- Clean up
Step 1: Make Sure Your Mango is Ripe
I have a hard time finding ripe mangos at my grocery store a lot of the time. I almost always buy my mangos a day or two before I want to eat them to give them time to ripen and get sweeter.
Since buying ripe mangos is rare through much of the United States, I think it’s important to make sure your mango is ripe just before you eat it. The last day or two of ripening is critical for getting the creamy juicy texture mangos are known for, not to mention their sweetness and delicious flavor.
I always check to make sure my mangos are a good color, feel soft in my hand, and smell sweet before I eat them.
Step 2: Bite Through the Peel
This is the hardest part of eating a mango without a knife. Your teeth are perfectly fine for biting through the peel of a mango, but it can take some practice because you ideally want to grab the peel with your teeth instead of biting it off.
I bite entirely with my front teeth, so that they slide in under the peel. Then I use both sets of teeth to hold the mango peel. Once I’ve got a grip on a section of peel I either pull the mango away or lift my head to pull off a section of the peel.
You’ll repeat this process to remove all the peel as you eat, but the first bite is easily the hardest.
Step 3: Enjoy the Inside of the Mango
I’ll admit, even though mango peels are really good for you, I usually don’t eat them. Instead I’ll use my teeth to scrape off any of the sweet mango flesh from the inside of the peel and then discard it.
The inside of a mango is much easier to eat than the peel, just take it one bite at a time and enjoy the flavor!
Step 4: Clean Up
Eating a mango can be a little messy. Ripe mangos are full of juice, just like a peach. Like a peach, they can drip and make a sticky mess. I always make sure to give myself a little time to wash my hands and face after eating a mango.
Luckily, mango juice isn’t as sticky as some fruits, so simple soap and water is all you’ll need.
My Final Thoughts on Eating Mangoes Without a Knife
The Carribean method is honestly my favorite way to eat mangoes. Mango is delicious in smoothies and cooked into stir fry, but there’s something about eating mango raw without a knife that just really helps me connect to the food. It feels natural and earthy and really helps me appreciate how delicious fresh mangos can be.
Of course, the Indian method is a lot less messy, so it can be a good option when you want to protect your skin and clothing from mango juice!
A lot of people think that you need to use a knife to carefully halve the mango, remove the pit, and peel the fruit. You can do it that way, but it’s a lot of extra work when you can just use your teeth and eat mangoes the way people have been eating them for centuries.
Even if you’re usually all about eating carefully prepared fruits and vegetables I’d encourage you to try eating a mango without a knife just once. Even if you don’t like eating it this way, I guarantee it’ll give you a new perspective on the fruit.
But if you insist, don’t let lack of tools prevent you from enjoying this delicious fruit…