From the very first bite of the luscious fruit, you're aware that this is going to be no ordinary experience.

Look for mangoes that are yellow or red with little trace of green.

Mangoes are generous of juice, tough of peel, and have a tenacious seed. No wonder it's said that the best place to eat a mango is in the bathtub. Although they are available all year, mangoes are at their most plentiful -- and prices are generally at their lowest -- from early May through September. When buying mangoes, rely on your eyes and your nose. The skin should be yellow or red with little or no trace of green, and the flesh at the stem end should be slightly soft. More importantly, take a whiff; ripe mangoes have a wonderfully heady, floral aroma.

Cutting Mangoes

1. Place a cutting board on a damp kitchen cloth. Hold mango firmly on the cutting board. Grasp the fruit firmly, making sure your fingers are out of the knife's path. Using a sharp knife, slice the mango lengthwise down both sides, sliding the blade next to the seed. (Be careful not to cut into the pit.)

Mangoes are full of vitamin C.

2. Score mango halves with the tip of the knife, making a series of crosshatch cuts through the fruit just to the peel. Do not pierce the peel. Fruit around the pit can be peeled and cut away in small pieces.

3. After making a series of crosshatch cuts, the mango can be pushed "inside out" to form a blossom. This is also the easy way to cube a mango. Once the fruit has been pushed inside out, the protruding pieces are easy to remove with a small, sharp knife.

Grilled Mango Blossom

Grilled Mango Blossom For a real splurge, serve your mango blossom with ice cream or fruit sorbet.

Mango Freeze Use different combinations of mango and tropical nectars, and serve several versions of this energizing drink to your guests.

Mango Salad with Smoked Turkey This recipe can do double duty: Serve it as is for lunch or dinner. Or, leave out the turkey and lettuce and cube the mango for a fresh salsa to serve with meat and fish.

Mango Parfait Mango cubes layered with a mixture of fat-free sour cream and nectarine puree make for a tasty low-calorie, low-fat treat.


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