The Delicious Snack You Can Make With Unripe Mango

While the sight of an unripe mango might be uncommon in the average United States supermarket, Central Americans and Salvadorans know this fruit well. According to Serious Eats, mango verde (or mango tierno) are small green mangoes that are picked well before they've ripened, giving them a crunchy, extremely tart flavor.

These mangoes are too sour to eat plain at all, much less for dessert (per Taste of Home), like the orange mangoes you are probably accustomed to. But with minimal effort and just two additional ingredients — alguashte, a spice made with pumpkin seeds, and fresh lime juice — it's easy to transform these tart mangoes into a healthy, flavorful snack. This treat is very popular in El Salvador and Central America, where it's known as mango verde con alguashte. Though it can be hard to find mango verde in the United States, this recipe can also work with other fruits, such as jicama or oranges.

First, you'll need to gather your ingredients. Alguashte is a simple spice made from roasted pumpkin seeds that is common in Salvadoran cuisine. Serious Eats explains that you can make alguashte at home by roasting pumpkin seeds and blending or grinding them with a little salt. This spice offers a deep, earthy flavor to whatever it touches.

Here's how to make it

Oddly enough, by adding a little lime juice to the sour mango verde, the mango loses its harsh bitterness and is transformed into a pleasantly tart treat. The sour flavors cancel each other out and enhance the subtle flavors of each fruit. 

And don't forget the mangoes! Mango verde can be difficult to find in North America, but if there's a store near you that specializes in Central American food, you might find them there. Keep in mind they'll be smaller than orange mangoes, and bright green. If your search for mango verde is unsuccessful, try making this recipe with the most underripe mangoes you can find. 

 Once you've gathered your ingredients, preparing this dish is pretty straightforward. Serious Eats calls for four unripe mangoes, but if you gave up on finding mango verde in North America and bought larger underripe mangoes at Whole Foods, you'll only need one or two. The mangoes need to be peeled and pitted, and then sliced into halves. Then, simply squeeze the juice from one lime on top, add the alguashte, and a little salt, and you have a perfect, mouth-watering afternoon snack.