How to prepare and serve a mango

A mango is always rather awkward to prepare, but first you need to check that it's ripe. Colour is not an indication: the skins are variously green, red, yellow-orange or even vaguely purple. As with an avocado you need to hold the fruit in your hand and feel a 'give' or softness when you exert a little pressure. Smell, too, can help you – the riper it is, the heavier the perfume. The best way to start is to place the mango on a flat surface (I often use a dinner plate to catch the juice). Remember there is a large flat stone in the centre, so take a sharp knife, hold the mango in a vertical position, then slice it lengthways either side of the stone.

Now hold each slice, flesh-side up, and this time, using a small knife, cut a criss-cross pattern into the flesh right down to the skin but being careful not to cut through the skin.

Now you can turn the whole thing inside out and simply cut away the cubes of mango into a bowl, then tip in any juices that are left on the plate.

To deal with the middle section with the stone in it, remove the skin with a small, sharp knife then use the knife to chop the flesh away from the stone – it won't be in nice little cubes this time, you just have to keep going round the stone until you have removed as much flesh as possible.

Alternatively, mangoes can be sliced, but only if they're just ripe and not too soft. This time you need a potato peeler to finely peel off the skin, then hold the mango in one hand and, with a small knife, cut out a slice, taking the knife down to the stone either side of it, then remove the slice and carry on cutting slices all the way round.

If the mango is too soft and fibrous to chop or slice, cut the cheeks off the fruit, then scoop out the flesh and make a purée in the processor with a little lime juice. Lovely as a sauce for something sweet or savoury like Thai Fish Curry with Mango, or add half its quantity of Greek yoghurt to make a fragrant mango fool. I love to eat mango on its own with a squeeze of lime, which seems to bring out the flavour of the fruit.

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