Every mango has a purpose. Some are called ‘dessert mangos’ because they are completely fiberless with exquisite flavor and fragrance (Glenn, Carrie, Nam Doc Mai). Those are best eaten fresh and unadorned. Other mangos, as I have learned recently, are best eaten unripe.
And then there are those mangos often considered inferior by connoisseurs. They might have some fiber or lack depth in flavor. One such mango is the Tommy Atkins, found in grocery stores across the country. But there is one thing the Tommy Atkins is exceptional for: dehydrating.
If you try to dehydrate a fiberless dessert mango it will completely dissolve. A mango with a bit of fiber is what you need. Drying also concentrates and caramelizes the flavor, so a mediocre mango will end up tasting fantastic. You’re left with an addictive mango snack. The Tommy Atkins mango has found its calling.
Chewy Mango Slices
To make it worth your while, use at least 3 mangos. That is enough for one rack the size of a baking sheet. Slice the mangos 1/4-inch thick. Place them in a colander and allow them to drain off excess juice for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you’re using a food dehydrator, arrange the slices on the racks. For the oven method, assemble baking racks over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Arrange the slices on the racks. For either method, be sure to leave a little bit of space between the slices so air flows around them.
For the food dehydrator, adjust the heat according to the manufacturer’s directions for drying fruit. If using the oven, keep it to the lowest setting possible, and use the convection fan if available. The time will vary according to the humidity levels, heat, and juiciness of the mangos. I find both methods take between 8 and 10 hours. You’ll have to test them toward the end. They should not be juicy in the middle, but also don’t let them go so long that they’re hard. Pliable + chewy = done. If you notice some are done before the rest, remove them.
These keep at room temperature in an air-tight container for a couple weeks. Extend their life even more by storing them in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to eat them.