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Crown as the national fruit by four countries (Haiti, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines), you can easily get your daily intake of vitamin C 100% from this superfruit.
Plus, you can make a lot of tasty dishes with mangoes!
The question is, how to pick out a good mango that’s ripe at the store?
Because honestly, nothing is more depressing than finding out that your mango is unripe after slicing them.
Don’t worry. I’ve got your back.
Surprisingly, choosing a good mango is easy. All you need is your common sense. I mean literally!
Just look, touch, feel, and smell the mango to find a good, ripe, and sweet mango.
And here’s the good news.
I’ve compiled this complete guide to help you choose a good and ripe mango for your dish or drinks.
- What is a good mango?
- How to pick out a good mango easily and quickly?
- What to do if you pick an unripe mango?
- Final Thoughts
- Related questions
What is a good mango?
A good mango simply means a ripe, sweet, and fragrant mango that is ready to be eaten.
But wait, you might be thinking that all mangoes are ripe when harvested, right? So is there really a need to choose a good mango if all are ripe?
Well, you are wrong.
Mangoes are harvested when they are mature not when they are ripe.
Though all mangoes that are sold at the store are matured, not all are necessarily ripe.
That’s why sometimes you end up peeling and slicing up an unripe mango and get frustrated. (Yup, happened to me in the past.)
How to pick out a good mango easily and quickly?
Below are some of the most efficient and easy ways of choosing ripe, fresh mangoes.
Again, all you need is your common sense!
Technique 1: Use your sense of touch to feel (and weigh) the mango
What you need to pay attention to are just four (4) things:
- The flesh around the stem
- Flesh on the sides of the mango
- Wrinkles on the skin
- Weight of the mango
Now let’s take a look at what they mean and how to use them as your powerful cues.
A. Feel the flesh around the stem end
An unripe mango usually has a fairly flat feel at the stem end and this particular part will rise as it ripens.
So try touching the flesh around the stem and feel them. If the stem end feels plump and rounded instead of flat, this means that the mango has ripened.
B. Feel the flesh on the sides of the mango
This is by far the best way to choose your mango.
You can judge the ripeness of the mango by gently squeezing the sides of the mango with the ball of your palm. (Avoid using your fingers as you might bruise the mango!)
A mango softens as it ripens and will “give” slightly or indent as you apply pressure on it. While an unripe mango will feel firm upon touch.
A good mango is one that feels partly firm and partly soft.
What to watch out for: Mango that is too mushy or squishy as this means that the mango is overripe.
C. Feel the skin of the mango for any signs of wrinkles
Like an aging human, ripe mango is said to have developed wrinkles on its skin as it ripens. This is especially true for Ataulfo mangoes that develops small wrinkles as they are fully ripe.
However, similar to shape and color, judging the ripeness of mango based on the wrinkles on its skin is not absolute and cannot be applied on all mango.
Some mangoes stay smooth even after ripens and some mangoes have wrinkles that are hard to detect.
What to watch out for: Mango with too many wrinkles as this means that the mango is overripe.
D. Feel and compare the weight of the mango
Just like most fruit, you can tell the ripeness of mango by its weight.
Generally, a ripe mango will be slightly heavier than an unripe one.
Since this technique involves comparison, you need at least one unripe mango as a standard mango to be compared with.
So before you try weighing the mango, try to judge the ripeness of the mango with the techniques mentioned above.
Technique 2: Use sense of smell to sniff the mango’s sweetness
A ripe mango will smell sweet and fruity and the smell is especially strong near the stem.
Amazingly, mango somewhat smells like a combination of melon, pineapple, and a faint smell of carrot.
If you still don’t know what this “smell” supposed to smell like, then just think of “mango” and “eat”, and if the smell is inviting you to eat the mango, then you’re with the right mango.
What to watch out for: Mango that smells sour or alcoholic as this means that the mango may be overripe.
Technique 3: Use your sense of sight by looking at the appearance of the mango; what color is a good mango? (my least favorite)
Personally, this is the hardest technique for me. If you are not cautious enough, you might end up with a bad mango!
And here’s why…
No mango is created equal.
Some are flat and some are round. Some are green and some are yellow.
Thousands of mango variety exist worldwide. You’ll find Ataulfo mango tree and Alphonso mango tree.
Other popular mangoes are Tommy Atkins, Haden, Kent, Keitt, Francis, and Palmer mango. Each has a different flavor, shape, size, and color.
For example, Ataulfo mango or Honey mango is small in size and has a flattened oval shape while Haden is medium to large in size and has an oval to round shape.
So, what color is a good, ripe mango? Most mangoes will turn from green to yellow when ripe and some mangoes such as Keitt will remain green even when ripe. While others will not change color at all, instead, they will just develop yellow spots like Kents.
Some people use the appearance of brown or yellow spots and speckles on the mango’s peel as a ripening cue. However, this technique is not absolute and inaccurate.
So my honest advice here is to just avoid using shapes, spots, and colors as your cues.
Why? Because they’re more confusing than they are helpful!
Of course, I’m not saying you should abandon this technique entirely.
If you are knowledgeable enough in the different types of mangoes and their ripening colors and shape, then you are more than welcome to use them as cues to select your mango.
However, if you are not sure about what kind of mango you are dealing with, as in the case of common folks like you and I, then I highly recommend you to use other techniques that I mentioned earlier.
What to do if you pick an unripe mango?
Sure, all the techniques sound easy to do.
But you are forgetting something – we are not Godly.
We have no absolute superpower in picking mangoes that’re perfectly ripe each time.
So what if you mess up and end up choosing an unripe mango?
What to do with those mangoes? Throw it? Or give them to your neighbors?
My first advice to you my friend is, relax!
I’ve got your back.
So here’s what you’re going to do with those unripe mangoes.
Step 1: Let the mangoes ripe naturally
You can let those unripe mangoes naturally ripen by leaving them at room temperature.
Take note of the changes in their texture and smell and use the above-mentioned techniques to judge their ripeness.
Generally, they will become softer and smell sweeter as they ripen.
Tips: If you are eager to eat the mangoes and want to speed up the ripening process, you can put the mangoes inside a mango bag, paper bag, or wrap them with newspaper to make them ripe faster.
Step 2: Refrigerate the ripen mangoes
Once the mangoes soften and give off a sweet smell (which means that they have ripened), place them in a refrigerator.
This step will slow down the ripening process and allows you to keep the mangoes for up to five (5) days.
Tips: Never refrigerate unripe mangoes before they ripen since the cold temperature stops unripe mangoes from ripening.
The ability to prepare tasty mango-based dishes or drinks starts with a selection of a good mango.
So don’t let your bad choice of mango hinder your chance of experiencing the wonderful taste of this fruit.
All you need is the right knowledge and the correct techniques.
How to tell if a mango is bad?
A rotting mango will begin to developed wrinkles or dark spots on its skin. It also has very soft or mushy flesh that will be bruised or dented even when you use light force to press on it. Unlike overripe mango that produces an overly sweet smell, a rotten mango will have a sour smell.
Can overripe mango make you sick?
Are red or green mangoes better?
Red mangoes are by no means far better or sweeter than green mangoes since the color of mangoes does not necessarily indicate their ripeness. Different varieties of mangoes come in different colors. They can be green, yellow, or reddish. Colors tend to signify the type of mangoes rather than their ripeness.