The Mango Peel. To Eat or Not Eat?

Can one eat the peel of a mango?  That is the question.  Here are the answers:


“No way!”

“Of course you can…”

“Ugh.  The peel tastes awful!”

“I always do!”

“Sure.  No problem.”

“Not unless I want my lips to explode.”

Ahhh.  Like so many things in life, it depends!  The considerations are allergy and taste.

  1. First, allergy.

Here is what Jennifer Shultz Nelson, Unit Educator of Horticulture at the University of Illinois Extension, has to say about this issue:

“Unfortunately, mangoes have some not-so-nice relatives in the plant world. Mangoes are in the family Anacardiaceae, the same family as Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, and Poison Oak. Like its nasty relatives, mangoes produce the oil urushiol, a mixture of several chemicals that produces a characteristic skin rash in sensitive individuals.

Fortunately, only the mango tree’s sap and the fruit’s skin contains the urushiol, and it is produced in small quantities. Some sources say the fruit’s flesh contains very low levels of urushiol. If a person is sensitive to urushiol, they may potentially have a reaction after touching the mango’s skin, particularly if there is sap present.

Most people can manage sensitivity to the urushiol in mango skin by carefully removing all traces of the skin without contaminating the flesh with the same knife. Preferably they have someone else do this so they do not touch the skin themselves! If their reaction is extreme, some individuals may need to avoid eating mangoes.”

Essentially, one has to determine their own sensitivity to the peel of a mango and proceed accordingly.

2.  Second, taste.

A lot of people eat the peel; a lot of people don’t.  It’s personal preference.