Can you eat mango skin? The short answer is it depends. Many people are allergic to an oily liquid present in mango skin and should avoid eating it. Mango skins contain urushiol, the same toxin found in poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak. Most of us develop an allergic reaction when our skin is exposed to urushiol. It’s so common that there is even a name for this phenomenon: mango itch.
Just try it yourself, pick up an unpeeled mango with your hands. Do you feel any tingling in your hands? In some cases, skin irritations can occur several hours, sometimes even days, after your skin came in contact with urushiol. That’s why it’s also called delayed-type hypersensitivity, as the reaction can take a long time to develop.
If your skin didn’t show any reaction, even days after you did this little experiment, you are probably safe to eat mango skin. However, If eating mango flesh or holding a mango makes you itchy, stay away from the skin. In all cases, it’s best to consult a doctor before starting to eat mango skins.
Benefits of Eating Mango Skin
I’m honest with you; mango skins don’t exactly taste like a dessert. They are tough to chew, bitter in taste and cause allergic reactions in many people. So, why should we even bother to eat them?
If we are not sensitive to urushiol, mango skins can be a low-calorie superfood. It’s true that the skins and peels of fruits are often more nutritious than the fruit itself. They contain many of the nutrients as the flesh but are much lower in carbs and sugar.
Mango skins are especially rich in vitamin A, C, fiber and powerful phytonutrients.
Vitamin A is essential for healthy bones and skin, good vision health and a strong immune system. It also works as an antioxidant fighting cell damage.
Vitamin C is necessary for the growth and repair of our body tissues. The high vitamin C content in mango skin helps your skin produce collagen, which makes your skin firmer and smoother. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron and protects us against various diseases.
Fiber is essential for a healthy diet and mango skin contains even more fiber than the flesh. Fiber helps you maintain a healthy weight, supports bowel health and lowers your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Phytonutrients are natural chemicals that help protect plants from environmental threats like insects and germs. Mango skins are rich in potent antioxidant phytonutrients, including mangiferin, norathyriol, and resveratrol.
Norathyriol, another powerful antioxidant, has shown to be effective against UV-induced cancer.
Resveratrol is the same antioxidant that is found in red wine. It is thought to play a role in lowering cholesterol, protecting against clots, and preventing heart disease.
How to Eat Mango Skin
So, you don’t want to waste the mango skin, and you have confirmed that you’re not sensitive to urushiol. The first step is to choose the right kind of mango.
Even though mangos are on The Clean Fifteen List, I still recommend you buy organic mangos, if you want to eat the skin. Most of the pesticides sit right on the surface. No matter if you choose organic or conventional, please make sure to wash it thoroughly.
I use baking soda to wash my produce. It effectively removes any pesticide residues:
- Fill a bowl with water
- Add a teaspoon of baking soda
- Soak the mango for 5 minutes
- Occasionally scrub with a brush
- Rinse off
After you have washed your (preferably) organic mango thoroughly, let’s get to work.
➀ Eat Mango like an Apple
The easiest way to eat mango peel is to eat the fruit like you would eat an apple. Start with a small piece of the skin, and see if you like it.
If you can’t stand the bitter taste of eating raw mango skin, try mixing it in your smoothies. Just cut up the mango with its skin, like you would cut an apple, and add it to your favorite smoothies. Remember that mangos still must be pitted before making smoothies or juicing.
You can leave the mango skin on when you make fruit juices with your juicer. Juicing or making smoothies are the best choice for using mango skins, as the other ingredients help mask the skin’s bitter flavor.
You can zest mango skin just like you would zest a lemon peel. It’s a fantastic nutrition booster in smoothies, pasta or salads.
➄ Mango Pickle
Mango pickle is a popular side dish in Hawaiian and South Asian cuisine. Pickled mangos are great with curried dishes, falafels or couscous. They can be salty, sour or sweet, depending on the spices you use. Although mango pickles are often made without the skin, you could also make them with the skin on.
How to Make Mango Pickle:
➅ Mango Chutney
How about a homemade mango chutney? It’s easy to make and is a delightful sandwich spread or dip for meat. Easy mango chutney recipe.
➆ Mango Syrup
If you don’t mind the extra sugar, you can try this delicious no-cook mango syrup.
➇ Mango Skin Chips
You can make healthy mango chips from the skin:
- Cut the skin into strips.
- Spread them on a baking sheet with the flesh side up.
- Sprinkle the chips with any combination of seasonings that you like.
- Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.
While mango skins can be eaten, it’s important to be aware that it can cause allergic reactions. If you are not sure if you are sensitive to urushiol, stick with the mango flesh. The urushiol levels in mango flesh are low, so most people can eat the flesh without having any problems. Have you ever tried eating mango skin? How did you like the taste and what’s your favorite way to incorporate them into your diet? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.