how to tell if a mango is ripe with two whole ripe mangoes and one ripe mango cut in half with ripe flesh

How To Tell If A Mango Is Ripe

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How To Tell If A Mango Is Ripe? – that is the question! If you’ve got a mango sitting on your counter and are wondering if it is ripe and ready to eat, you’re in the right place! Get ready to learn how to identify a ripe mango on the spot!

Thanks to its sweet and exquisite flavor, mango is considered the king of tropical fruits. It not only adds flavor to countless dishes but also a pop of color and, most importantly, lots of nutrients and vitamins. You can have it as a snack, blend it into smoothies, or toss it in salads to give them a fruity touch. But no matter how you enjoy it, it’s best if you do it when it’s ripe.

Every mango fan knows that its tastiest peak is when it’s fully ripe. However, there are some who, despite loving it to pieces, still don’t know exactly how to tell if a mango is ripe. Luckily for them, here’s an in-depth look at this exotic fruit, where we’ll answer that question — & more!

What Does Unripe Mango Look Like?

Very unripe mangoes give themselves away quite easily. You will notice that their skin is completely green, and their texture is hard to the touch. If you open them, you will find pale, firm flesh — completely different from that of ripe mangoes.

Things get tricky when mangoes are just slightly unripe, not very unripe. But if their skin is still mostly green and their texture does not give in when you touch it, chances are that they are indeed unripe.

Is It OK To eat Unripe Mango?

Cutting open a mango only to find it is unripe may seem like a tragedy, but in reality, you can still eat it. It won’t taste as good as when it’s ripe, but it’s completely safe to eat. You’ll enjoy it if you like firmer, less sweet fruits.

In fact, in some parts of Asia and Latin America, unripe (a.k.a green) mango is consumed as a spicy snack. Some people prepare it using chili powder, lime, and salt, while others prefer it with adobo (a spice blend), salt, and vinegar. Although that mix of flavors is interesting and tasty, if given the choice between ripe mango vs. unripe, we still lean a bit more towards ripe mango.

What Does A Ripe Mango Look Like? What Color Is It?

If you’re wondering what color a ripe mango is, the truth is that ripe mangoes come in a variety of colors. Ataulfo mangoes are vibrant yellow, Tommy Atkins mangoes are deep red with gold accents, and Keitt mangoes are green with pink undertones even when ripe. So long story short, there is no one-shade-fits-all mango color.

However, if you want to buy the average yellow/orange mango that features a red blush, you can check how vibrant those colors are. If they’re pale or the fruit it’s mostly green, it’s probably not ripe.

Ripe mango How To Tell If A Mango Is Ripe Entrées

Can You Tell A Mango Is Ripe Just By The Color?

Mango is one of those fruits that, in order to tell its ripening stage, we should not look at its color. There are too many varieties of mangoes with different shades, and in many cases, their color is due to sun exposure — not to how ripe they are. So no, you can’t tell a mango is ripe just by its color.

There are two main aspects to keep in mind when it comes to knowing whether a mango is fully ripe or not: feel and smell. There are also others that we will discuss below, but those are the main ones.

Other Signs That Tell When A Mango Is Ready To Eat

Now that we have left the color cliché aside, some cues that can help you in learning how to tell if a mango is ripe are feel, smell, appearance, and weight.

  • Feel: Again, unripe mango is very firm to the touch, while ripe mangoes are a bit softer. A mango that is ready to eat will not feel hard, but if your fingers puncture it when you apply light pressure, it is overripe and most likely bad.
  • Smell: If it has a strong, fruity, sweet smell, chances are that mango is fully ripe. If it smells like nothing or has a weak aroma, it may not be ready yet.
  • Appearance: Although the color of the skin will not tell you if a mango is ripe or not, the appearance of the flesh is a strong indicator of how ripe it is. A deep yellow, almost orange flesh suggests a fruit that is good to eat.
  • Weight: There are small, medium, and large mangoes, but no matter the type, the riper they are, the heavier they will be. Actually, they will feel too heavy for their size.

How To Ripen A Mango Quickly

If you are patient, eventually, everything will turn out all ripe (pun intended). But if you saw a recipe on TikTok that calls for mangoes and you can’t wait to make it, the best way to ripen them quickly is to wrap them in newspaper and leave them on the counter overnight. They will be ripe in the morning!

Another trick straight from India — where mangoes originally come from and are the national fruit — is to submerge your unripe mangoes in a bowl full of popcorn kernels or uncooked rice. The grains will trap the ethylene gas (a.k.a ripening gas) that emanates from the mangoes, causing them to ripen faster.

But if you’re not satisfied with those tricks, there’s one that, while it works fast, won’t give you the best-tasting mango. You’ll need to pierce the mango with a knife in about 5 different places, wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave it for 10 seconds. If you notice it’s not soft enough to the touch, microwave it for another 10 seconds, and voilà! Instant ripe mango.

How To Tell If A Mango Is Ripe How To Tell If A Mango Is Ripe Entrées

How To Pick The Best Mango

To pick the most mangoficent mango, the best thing to do is to rely on your sense of touch. As mentioned earlier, you can recognize a ripe, ready-to-eat mango better by feeling it than by looking at it, since each variety has a different color.

If you are at your local grocery store and don’t want to spend a lot of time inspecting each mango in detail, just touch them. The fruit should give slightly when touched, and have a smooth texture. Mind you, not so soft that it feels like it’s going to melt at any moment.

You can also go by your sense of smell. Give them a good sniff near the stem end. It should give off a strong fruity aroma — just like the flesh of a ripe mango when you cut it open. 

Last but not least, make sure you do your research on the different types of mangoes. There are Kent mangoes, Ataulfo mangoes, Francis mangoes, Haden mangoes, and many, many more. They all have different colors, smells, and flavors, so the best one you can pick is the one you like the most.

How To Store Mangoes

Being tropical fruits, mangoes should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place. They should not be exposed to direct sunlight or other heat sources. However, if they are already peeled, you can put them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. 

Also, mangoes can be frozen. The best way to do this is to dice them and place them into a freezing bag. That way, they can be used later on in fruit salads, smoothies, and more.

Pro-Tip: If your mango is ready to eat and you don’t want it to over-ripen, you can pop them in the fridge to slow down ripening for 5 to 7 days.


How Long Does A Mango Take To Ripen?

Typically, it takes 6 to 8 days for an unripe mango to ripen. But it all depends on what stage of ripeness the fruit is at.
A mango that is completely green and firm to the touch will take much longer to ripen than one that is already slightly yellowish and soft in some areas.

Should A Ripe Mango Be Soft Or Hard?

The flesh of a mango is soft and creamy by nature if it is ripe, and the same applies to its outside — minus the “creamy” part. A ready-to-eat mango will feel slightly soft to the touch, just like avocados when they are ripe.

If it’s still firm, let it sit on the kitchen counter for a couple of days to ripen. Or if you’re in a hurry and need something sweet ASAP, try the tips given earlier to ripen mangoes quickly.

How Long Do Mangoes Last?

Generally speaking, mangoes keep well under ideal conditions. That is, at room temperature, in a cool, dry place. But once fully ripe, they may only last 2 or 3 days if left out on the counter. 

However, if you throw them into the fridge after they ripen, they can last about 5 to 7 days — which is an improvement.

How To Tell If A Mango Is Bad?

In addition to knowing how to tell if a mango is ripe, it is always good to know how to tell if a mango is bad and about to kick the bucket. Some indicators are the appearance and the feel, but the biggest giveaway sign is the smell.

If the mango you have at home gives off an unpleasant, sour, or even somewhat boozy smell, it’s a clear sign that it’s overripe and, most likely, bad.

Also, if you notice that the fruit is developing overly soft, brown, or even moldy spots, you should throw it away and never ever consider eating it. You might think, “well, the outside looks ugly, but the inside might taste good,” but nah, stay away from it!

What’s The Best Season For Mangoes?

Some say that the peak mango season is during June and July due to the summer, but in reality, mangoes are available all year round. However, if you are hunting for a specific type of mango, some are more readily available in certain seasons.

For example, if you want to enjoy a Kent mango, its peak availability is during December and January. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for Haden mangoes, it’s best to wait until March and April. Or if Ataulfo mangoes are your thing, you better go to your local grocery store between March and July.

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