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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Member of the Family! And Cutting Mangoes Like Avocados

No, I’m still pregnant. But we do have a new member of the family…well, of my cutting board family, which continues to multiply like bunnies. I think I may be addicted to beautiful wood cutting boards. Just maybe. Anyway, I spotted this beauty at the Ferry Building a few weeks ago and knew I had to get it. We needed a small cutting board – the one we had was yucky and cracked. Plus, I knew that every time I would use this, it would make me happy. And I was right. You can’t put a price on that!

The board is made by Russell James Ooms from Walnut Grove, CA. He is a cabinetmaker/woodworker who saves the cut-offs from commissioned work and combines that with found wood to make these cutting boards. The shop where I found this board was also selling big, beautiful mosaic cutting boards that Ooms makes (you can click here to see a sample). BUT…I didn’t need a big board, so I resisted. See, I do have self-control!

Doesn’t the board look absolutely stunning paired with mango?

Which leads us to topic #2. My dear friend Liz commented on Sunday sharing a great technique for cutting mangoes. Nate and I have tried so many different ways of cutting up mango I’m surprised we never thought of this one…especially since this is how I “chop” avocados.

You cut off the wide sides, cut a grid into the fruit, without cutting through the skin, then scoop the fruit out with a knife. Genius!

The core portion still has plenty of yummy fruit on it, so I cut the skin off around the edge and then just sort of hacked off the remaining fruit.

I have to say, the spoon is more blunt than a knife, so the pieces were a little mushier and I feel like I get closer to the skin when I cut slices and then cut the fruit out with a knife. BUT…it really was MUCH faster to cut it this way, which is good when you’re hungry and/or pregnant. 😉 Plus, it felt a little safer and more in control since these slippery little buggers can be downright dangerous when you introduce a sharp knife to the mix!


  1. 1

    An additional tip: use a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge. It’s the best of both spoon and knife. I do this for both mangos and avocados. 🙂

  2. 2
    Kelly K

    You can sort of turn the fruit inside out once you make the cross hatches to make it even easier to get it off of the skin.

    • Emily

      yeah! this is a good trick too! Pop the sides inside out, and then you can get in there with a spoon…or (again) your teeth. yummmm.

  3. Jane, you know I share your cutting board addiction. I even have two special ones that will never EVER see the blade of a knife cut into them. Your Ooms board is a beaut.

    • Jane Maynard

      yes, I do certainly know! I thought you might chuckle when you read this post…

  4. 4

    Hi Jane, i’m a huge fan of your meatball and stuffed shells!
    Would love to know, do you have different boards for fish, meat, fruit or use all for all. Do you have any tips on this or how to remember which one is for what and make sure everyone at home follows…?
    I always try to organize my boards but end up somewhat lost…
    xx j

    • Jane Maynard

      so, on my biggest cutting board, made of bamboo, I actually wrote a tiny little M in sharpee marker on one corner…and that’s my meat side. other than that, I don’t differentiate, but I do try to do all the meat and fish stuff on that one side of that one board. it’s just nate and I doing any cutting, so for now in our life it’s easy to keep it straight!

      I have to say…if my big board was as beautiful as this one, I don’t know if I’d do an M…maybe just a tiny dot! but I can just flip the bamboo one around and lean the side with the M against the wall, so no one notices and it works for me..

      perhaps other people have tips as well, but that’s what I’ve done!

    • Jane Maynard

      also, I LOVE WOOD. I don’t like any other cutting surfaces. when I do use it for meat, I just clean it in the sink with hot water and soap, and then when I rinse the board I turn the water all the way too hot (no cold at all) and rinse it like crazy. my hands don’t have to touch the water and I just hope that steaming hot water gets what the soap doesn’t! 🙂

  5. 5

    I get it! This IS how my mom used to do it! So much easier. After reading your post last night, I bought a few mangoes at the store today – can’t wait til they ripen so I can try this way. I totally forgot that she taught me this!

    And I LOVE WOOD too! Seriously, it’s a problem. But I never thought to use different boards for meats, fish, veggies, etc? Do I have an excuse to buy a few more boards??

    {mommy chic} design. style. kids. life.

  6. 6

    And PS – if the mango is good enough, I won’t even bother cutting off the smaller sides. I’d just attack and eat it w/ my hands! 🙂

  7. 7

    Now I get it! This IS the way my mom used to do it! After reading your post last night, I went to the store today and bought a couple mangoes. Can’t wait til they ripen!

    And I LOVE WOOD too! Seriously, it’s a problem. Are you supposed to use different cutting boards for meat, fish, veggies, etc? I didn’t know this. Do I have an excuse to buy another chopping board???

    PS – if the mango is good enough, I don’t bother cutting the smaller sides, I just use my hands and teeth and tear into it!

    {mommy chic} design. style. kids. life.

  8. 8

    Oh – hi. I don’t know how to submit comments. What is this thing you call internet?

    I thought the others didn’t go through! Clearly, I was determined to leave you a comment! 😉

  9. 9

    I do the same thing as Kelly K above–after cross hatching it, turn it inside out and it’s even easier to get it out. Or just cheat and buy mango chunks from Trader Joes 🙂

    My avocado life was forever changed by the purchase of this handy little gadget:

    I wonder if it would also work on mangos?????? I see a trip to the produce store in the near future!

  10. 10

    I have board envy. It’s beautiful…absolutely beautiful. I have a spalted pecan one that I got for no reason other than looking at it. I can’t bring myself to use it.

  11. 11

    thanx for the tips Jane!
    by the way, this board is super nice! would love to have one!

  12. 12

    We cut mangos this way, too. Only I’ll often leave it on the skin and give them to the kids that way (sometimes cut each half in half again to make it a little smaller). They turn them inside out and eat them right off the skin. Makes them an easy, handheld fruit instead of needing a fork.

    And of course, with the two kids eating the sides, that leaves the middle for me! Not sure what I’m going to do when #3 is old enough to want some, too. 🙂

  13. 13

    The glue in these cutting boards manufactured by Russell James Ooms only lasts for so long – then they split.

  14. 14
    Sarder Tajul Islam

    This blog is great and informative, and I love how you share your enthusiasm for beautiful wood cutting boards. The one you found looks stunning, and I can see why it brings you joy. Have you tried any other creative techniques for cutting fruits like avocados or mangoes? I’m always looking for efficient and safe ways to handle them in the kitchen.

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