When it comes to tropical fruits, mangos are definitely at the top of our list of favorites.
In North America, mangos aren’t as readily available as some of the more standard fruits, such as apples and bananas.
But when they are, you best believe we are first in line to get some of these juicy and delicious tropical delights.
If you’re not terribly familiar with mangos, they are essentially a stone fruit (think peaches and nectarines) originating from South Asia. India and China are known for harvesting the most mangos, followed by Thailand and Indonesia.
In terms of flavor and texture, mangos possess a thin inedible skin on the exterior and a sweet and juicy pulp on the interior.
The summer months are when mangos are most accessible to those of us living in the west and when we can’t find the time (and let’s be honest, in this economy, money as well) to go on vacation, there’s no reason that with a little planning and prep work, we can’t bring the tropical vacay straight to us!
Whether you’re in it for the warm, relaxing summer feel, or you’re simply obsessed with anything that starts and ends with the word mango, it’s important to know how to pick the perfect ones to truly get the most out of this fruit.
Choosing a perfectly ripe mango can be difficult if you aren’t aware of the key indicators to look out for when purchasing them at the grocery store or farmer’s market.
Luckily for you, in this article, we are going to share our top tips and tricks on how to identify a perfectly ripe mango.
Because mangos are too good to let them go to waste.
Get ready, because you’re about to be a mango pro!
How To Tell When A Mango Is Ripe: Smell?
When it comes to identifying whether or not your mango is ripe, one of the best indicators is smell.
Mangos give off different smells depending on what stage of maturity they’re at.
To be able to spot a mango that is at its prime, implement the following smell test. Its results are foolproof and will have you relaxing in the sun, eating sweet, juicy mango in no time.
|Sweetness level||When a mango is in its perfect state, it produces a wonderful sweet aroma. |
To be able to identify this, pick up the mango and smell it a couple times near to the stem.
When the mango is ripe, you will immediately be able to notice this irresistibly sweet scent.
NOTE: choosing the right mango doesn’t just involve being knowledgeable of what to look for when it’s ripe.
It’s also important to be aware of the signs that indicate an unripe or spoiled mango.
When a mango is unripe, it won’t contain hardly any scent. When you smell a mango in this state, it will possess a neutral aroma.
On the other hand, when your mango is overripe, it will exude a very unpleasant smell that can be described as sour and fermented.
If you’re still unsure whether or not your mango is ripe, check out some of the other indicators, such as texture and appearance.
RELATED: The 20 Best Mango Recipes
How To Tell When A Mango Is Ripe: Texture?
Aside from the fragrance of a mango, the texture is also a great way of knowing when this fruit is ripe.
Like the smell test, when it comes to the texture, you’re going to need to actually pick up the mango and feel it out.
Here’s what you need to do
|Heaviness||The first thing you can do to identify whether or not your mango is ready to eat is to check how heavy it is. |
Typically, a mango that is ripe will feel heavier than it actually looks (compared to its size).
Hold the mango in your hand and if you’re at all surprised by its weight, it’s a good indication it’s ripe!
|Softness||In terms of texture, the best way to know when your mango is in its prime is by checking how soft it is. |
For this, you will want to implement the same technique as the previous indicator.
Simply hold the mango in your hand and gently press into the skin with your finger.
If you notice there is some give (your finger leaves a slight indent in the mango), your mango is ripe.
This is because when your mango is easily imprinted, it means that the flesh inside is soft and juicy- exactly how you want your mango to be when you eat it.
NOTE: as with the smell test, choosing the right mango doesn’t just involve being knowledgeable of what to look for when it’s ripe.
It’s also important to be aware of the signs that indicate an unripe or spoiled mango.
Unripe Mango: if you press into the mango and notice it is hard (no imprint is left behind), it hasn’t matured enough yet and you need to allow it to ripen for more time.
Overripe Mango: if you press into the mango and it is overly mushy, this is a good sign that your mango has spoiled and you may need to toss it (check out the section in FAQs on “How To Properly Store Mangos” to avoid this from happening.
If, when you are purchasing the mango, you intend to not eat it for a few days, it’s a good idea to buy one that is slightly unripe. In this case, opt for one that has a firm texture and tight skin.
How To Tell When A Mango Is Ripe: Appearance?
Aside from smell and texture, the last indicator of ripe mangoes is appearance.
Give a few mangoes a little visual check at the grocery store and you will notice certain differences between unripe and ripe ones.
The color, in particular, will be an indicator of this.
Remember that mangoes can come in a variety of different colors: red, green, orange and yellow (or all of the above) and a dullness in any of these hues may mean your mangoes aren’t ready.
For further reassurance, check out these indicators
|Stalk||When it comes to the visual check, the stalk can be very helpful. |
For example, the area surrounding the stalk will appear firm when it is ripe.
In addition, if you are purchasing a mango that still has the stalk on it, if it is protruding outward, this is also an indication of a ripe mango.
|Color||It is important to first note that while color can point toward a more fresh mango, it can not be used solely to determine whether or not your mango is ripe. |
As mentioned previously, mangoes come in a variety of different colors: red, green, orange, yellow (or all of the above).
While a green mango might turn more red or orange when it is ripe, this is not necessarily always the case.
A good rule to follow is the brighter the color, the more ripe it is- vibrant and intense hues equal readiness.
NOTE: remember that mangoes can contain several different colors at once and an unevenly “blushed” mango does not imply it is unripe.
In fact, different skin tones are perfectly normal!
In addition, do not be afraid of a mango with a few marks or blemishes on the skin. This can be caused when the mango makes contact with a tree or other fruit during the growing process and will not affect the quality of the flesh inside the mango.
Overripe mango: if you have any suspicions that your mango has matured too far, you may be able to come to a conclusion by checking the appearance.
A mango that has dark brown or black spots, any signs of mold or is starting to ooze, is likely a mango that is spoiled.
If only a small section has become discolored, you can cut this out and eat the rest (sometimes, you won’t see the bruising until you have removed the skin).
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Ripen Mangoes Faster?
If you purchased a mango that you’re eager to eat but is a little on the unripe side, there are several ways you can speed up the ripening process.
1. The first method entails storing your mangoes beside fruits that produce a gas called “ethylene.”
Ethylene is a natural gas released by fruits that is known to increase the rate at which fruits ripen. Some of these fruits include pears, bananas and apples.
To complete this method, simply store your mangoes at either room temperature or in the fridge directly beside an ethylene-producing fruit and they will be ripe in no time.
2. If you don’t have any other fruits on hand, do not fear. Mangoes actually produce ethylene themselves and can ripen more quickly on their own when stored in enclosed spaces.
To achieve this method, enclose your mango in a brown paper bag or tightly wrap it in newspaper. This will help to trap the ethylene gas, causing the mango to ripen more quickly.
3. Leaving your mangoes in an environment at room temperature will also allow them to ripen more quickly than they would in a colder space such as in the fridge.
How To Store Mangoes?
Mangoes can be stored in a variety of different ways depending on how quickly you want to consume them.
To extend the shelf life of your mangoes for as long as possible, it’s vital that you are aware of the proper storage methods.
Mangoes can be stored 3 different ways
1. Room Temperature: if your intention is to eat your mango within 2 days, you can store it on the countertop. Just make sure they are in an environment that is cool, dry and not exposed to any direct sunlight.
- Remember that mangoes ripen more quickly at room temperature, so if you would like them to last longer, go for the next method.
2. Fridge: you can also store your mangoes in the fridge for up to 7-14 days. This approach is great for anyone who wants to delay the ripening process and extend the mango’s shelf life.
3. Freezer: if you wish to eat your mangoes at a later date (or you love a good smoothie bowl and are in need of frozen fruit), mangoes can also be stored in the freezer. The process, however, requires a few steps. Here’s what you need to do
- First, ensure your mango is ripe.
- Then remove the skin and cut the flesh into cubes.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set the mango cubes onto it (so that they aren’t touching)
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the mango chunks overnight
- Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and place the mango chunks into a freezer bag or container (removing as much air as possible)
- Place the bag or container in the freezer and freeze for up to 10 months
How Do You Know If Your Mango Is Overripe?
Your mango is overripe when it has a sour or unpleasant odor, is overly mushy in texture, or has any brown spots or mold on it.
While most smaller spoiled spots can simply be removed, if your mango is exceedingly past its prime, we recommend throwing it away.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Mangoes?
Mangos are full of health benefits, including 20 different vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, A, B6, potassium and magnesium.
They are known to help improve your immune system as well as lower blood pressure, maintain cholesterol levels and cleanse skin.
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