Is Mango Skin Edible?

Mango skin is edible, but it can lead to some complications. Mango tree sap and the skin of the fruit both contain the same chemical, urushiol, that’s found in poison ivy and sumac. There’s not as much of it in mango skin, but there’s still a risk of contact dermatitis – breaking out in a rash. This can even happen on the lips or inside the mouth (where it’s called gingivitis, but is just as unpleasant). There’s even the risk of anaphylactic shock, which can kill, in people who are allergic to this chemical.

But that shouldn’t put you off too much: people who aren’t allergic report that mango skin is delicious, and in some tropical cultures where mangoes are a regular mealtime feature, everyone eats some skin. For almost everyone, it’s perfectly safe.

Mango skins can be a delicious snack and they contain a lot of dietary fibrer and nutrients, so if you’re working on a healthy diet you might want to include them.

So, you’re looking at your mango, with its tough, leathery skin, and wondering: how?

Well, one way is to eat the smaller, orange-yellow types of mangoes. These have a much thinner, sweeter skin than the bigger red mangoes. Another is to sun-dry your mangoes. If you live in the Great Lakes area maybe that’s not happening for you, but Californians take note: leave the skin to sun-dry in thin slices for a couple of days and you can carry them around as a snack. It’s also possible to blend or juice the skins but they are quite tough so watch out!

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