Before I was a maven, I confess I was tentative on buying a lot of mangoes because they are clingstone fruits. As one might surmise, “clingstones” have stones which cannot be easily removed from the flesh. Said another way: The flesh is attached strongly to the blasted stone/seed/pit and must be cut away from the blasted stone/seed/pit. Said yet another way: This takes more time/effort in the kitchen than I have the patience for.
Then wha-la! The gates of Heaven opened and I found the tool that changed my mango life forever: A mango pitter!!!! You simply must, must, must have one. (I’ve seen hoity-toity culinary types post videos on how to cut a mango with just a knife. It’s all horse-pucky and I’ll tell you why in a minute)
To start, cut the ends off of the mango. This step is essential for perfectly ripe mangoes, which tend to be on the softer side. (Trying to slice through tough skin will sometimes demand a degree of pressure which can begin to crush a really ripe mango. Having a little flesh showing eases the process.)
About the hoity-toities and mangoes…They propose standing the mango on end and cutting two cheeks off either side of the pit. Welllllllll. The mango pitter is shaped exactly like the seed, and cuts as close AROUND the seed as possible. Has anyone ever seen a knife with a rounded blade? Nope. So you’re either throwing away good fruit that’s still on the seed OR spending time trimming the flesh off the seed. :(
A mango pitter, on the other hand, leaves a little flesh on the seed, (enough for significant others to slurp on) but is, in most cases, extremely efficient. There is one exception: Manila mangoes. Manila mangoes have smaller seeds than other varieties of mangoes, so the pitter leaves a good deal more flesh on the seed. So in this instance, I still use the pitter, but take a few seconds to slice more flesh off of the seed – with a knife just like the hoity-toities. The superb taste of the Manila mango is more than worth the trouble. The other exception to efficiency I’ve seen with this pitter is that seeds from really large Tommy Atkins mangoes are a hair too big and the pitter gets stuck mid-cut. In reality, you shouldn’t be buying Tommy Atkins mangoes ANYWAY, so in my mind, the pitter is still a 10/10.
Now for the extra tip that makes it all worthwhile. What to do with the mango skins and your morning coffee grinds? There has never been so easy an answer. Check out the kitchen workhorse of a compost bin a few pics below. My husband is an engineer and by definition, frugal. There are not many purchases that he gloats over, but this is one of them. It’s big enough to last for a couple of day’s worth of refuse, has a charcoal filter (think ODOR FREE), and cleans up beautifully.
I’ve had mine for a couple of years now and use it daily. I like my counters clear of “things” for easier wiping, so I stow mine under the sink.
I bought both my mango pitter and compost bin at Williams-Sonoma. Other retailers carry mango pitters, but not THIS beautiful mango-colored mango pitter – it’s exclusive to Williams-Sonoma. For instance, some retailers carry a white version, but I confess (yet again) I have a strong preference for the hoity-toity mango-colored Williams-Sonoma version. Okay, so it’s true…I may appreciate hoity-toity things and persons more than I initially let on. Happy mango slicing!