Mangos are easily my favorite fruit to eat, and one of my least favorite to cut up. Despite myriad “hacks” offered on the internet, every technique seems to fail against the slippery fruit and it’s clingy flesh. My not terribly innovative approach is to use a paring knife to peel the skin and then shave around the pit as best I can.
But getting the final bits of mango gold off the pit is still rough! My preferred method is to invite my husband to nibble the pit clean. But he’s not always up for this, and I don’t enjoy getting stringing mango bits in my teeth, so we’ve found another option: I stash mango pits in a bag in the freezer until I have enough to make jam.
Heating the pits in sugar water helps loosen the flesh into a luscious fruity spread. The jam is great on bread, with yogurt, or atop goodies like the kolacky cookies pictured above.
Mango Pit Jam
Mango pits. About a dozen, collected in the freezer.
Lemon juice or citrus halves leftover from juicing. You can also collect these in the freezer.
1 cup of sugar. More if you want a sweeter jam.
4 cups of water. You may want to start out with less and add more if needed as the pits simmer.
1. Heat the water.
2. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves.
3. Add the mango pits and citrus rinds or a splash of lemon juice.
4. Bring to a boil.
5. Leave at an aggressive simmer for a while, let’s say 10 minutes or so. Keep an eye on the pot while you’re doing other things in the kitchen.
6. Keep simmering and using a spoon to scrape the sides of the pits to help liberate loosened mango flesh. Note: this process will be imperfect and some will still cling, but eventually you’ll see much more of the white part of the pit than when you started out. The liquid will thicken, with chunks of loosened mango flesh evident.
7. When you’re satisfied that you’ve gotten all the mango flesh possible (which can be a tricky assessment), remove the mangos from the pot and set the jam aside in a jar.
8. If you’re committed, and especially if you have a mango-enthusiast husband nearby, host a slurp party in which you nibble off any of the mango flesh still clinging to the pits. The flesh will come off much more easily than before the pits were boiled. Just be prepared for your hands to get very sticky!
9. Use the jam on bread, cheese, maybe even in cookies like the kolacky pictured above. It's also great with yogurt.
Want a more precise recipe? This mango pit jam was inspired by Joel Gamoran's "Mango Pit Jam Mess," which calls for fewer pits, and includes additions like a vanilla bean and chia seeds. Find the recipe in the Cooking Scrappy cookbook.