The Only Way To Tell If a Mango Is Ripe, According to an Expert

Color is not the best indicator.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

I eyed mangoes warily the last time I went to the grocery store. There are so many summery things you can do with them, but the fruit is a little daunting. Do you choose based on looks and color, or is it all about the squeeze?

“In the store or at a farmers market, look for good color and full shoulders (good width),” says Horticulturist Jeff Wasielewski who is an extension agent for Miami-Dade County in Florida, specializing in tropical fruit education. “If the fruit gives a little, it is probably ready to eat. If one section is very soft, it probably fell and will be rotten in that spot."

Squeeze the mango gently. If the mango is ripe, there will be a slight amount of give, according to the National Mango Board. A medium-ripe mango will be a little firm, and an unripe mango will be very firm.

“You want some give, but not mushy,” says Wasielewski. “It is going to be very similar to an avocado.”

Mangoes don’t have to be completely ripe to be tasty. They are like peaches in that they get softer as they ripen. Underripe mangoes are firmer and tend to have a tart flavor that becomes sweeter as they become more ripe.

Can You Judge Ripeness By Color?

Depending on where you live, there could be more than a dozen different mangoes from which to choose. “There are thousands of different cultivars of mangos and probably a good 15 that are commercially available,” says Wasielewski.

Mangoes can be a rainbow of colors including yellow, orange, green, red, or purple. Some people suggest a red spot indicates that a mango is ripe, but color isn’t a good indicator. No matter which variety, the squeeze test is the best way to judge ripeness.

In addition to squeezing, you may also want to sniff the stem. Like ripe pineapples, ripe mangoes typically have a fruity smell.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

The Best Way To Store Mangoes

Once you get your mango home, Wasielewski suggests storing it on your kitchen counter. Similar to an avocado, it may take a day or two to ripen fully. If you want to speed up the process, put it in a paper bag.

Mangoes produce ethylene, a gas that can cause some produce to ripen faster. Because of that, it’s best to keep them away from sensitive fruits and vegetables such as bananas, strawberries, and watermelon.

How long mangoes will stay at peak quality depends on how ripe they were when you brought them home. “If they were fully mature, maybe five to six days,” says Wasielewski. “If not, they can go much longer.”

If your mango is already ripe, you can store it in the refrigerator to prevent further ripening. You might also prefer the cool taste. “They taste mighty fine when they are chilled,” says Wasielewski, who also suggests freezing them if you want to use them in smoothies later.

If you want mangoes at their freshest, time your shopping appropriately. “If possible, shop for mangos in the summer when they are in season direct from local growers or at farmers markets,” says Wasielewski. “You will get a much, much, much better product.”

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.