One of the most popular fruits around the world, the mango provides a juicy, sweet and delicious present within its peel. While we commonly cut and peel back the skin of the mango to get to its luscious flesh, the exterior of this tropical fruit holds some healthy and nutritious benefits as well.
Uses for mango peel vary around the globe, ranging from food applications to medicinal purposes. They add another dimension to a fruit that already gets high marks for its taste and versatility.
There is a difference of opinion about eating the skin of a mango. Since the mango skin is acidic, it can be toxic for some people, causing a rash similar to poison ivy. But many people eat mango skin with no consequences and find its taste appealing. Like the color of a mango, the flavor of the peel differs according to its varietal type. Some have a delectable fragrance and others a stronger, astringent odor.
Mango peel is high in calcium, vitamin B6 and antioxidants and is a good source of fiber. Besides eating the skin raw, it can be chopped and added to chutney, chili and other foods to give the dish some fruity acidity as it cooks.
According to researchers at the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India, mango peel provides high quality pectin. This means the skin of the tropical fruit is ideal as a thickening agent for making jams and jellies. Since the peel makes up 20 to 25 percent of the total fruit weight, the average yield from the fruit makes it a sufficient and cost effective pectin source.
In some cultures, mango peel is used as a digestive aid, particularly for treating gastritis. For example, people in India with inflamed stomach mucus membranes take mango peel to relieve symptoms. In this application, the skin of the mango is mashed and then boiled to extract its oils. (Of course, never use mango peel for medical reasons without consulting a medical professional.)