Mangoes have to be one of the most delicious fruits of all if you have a sweet tooth and enjoy fresh fruit. The rich orange flesh is tasty and eaten by itself as a snack, and this fruit is also used in many dessert recipes. This tropical fruit is found all over the globe and never disappoints. This means it's well worth learning how to store mangoes so they stay fresh and juicy and don't spoil too fast.
Examples of recipes using mango include mango panna cotta and mango cheesecake, although you can chop this fruit and add it to a fruit salad or any other kind of fruit you like. The shelf life of mango depends on how you store it, and knowing how to keep it fresh for a longer time means you can buy more at once and make even more tasty recipes using them.
I love to use mango in milkshakes because throwing mango in a blender with sugar and milk results in such a tasty shake! You could also make Mexican popsicles and some cuisines use grated fresh mango in savory dishes, or include it in chutneys and pickles.
What are Mangoes?
Mangoes (Mangifera Indica) are reddish orange-fleshed fruit with reddish-green skin. This edible stone fruit is thought to have originated in Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh.
There are two different types of mangoes: the Indian kind and the Southeast Asian kind, but there are hundreds of different mango cultivars, varying in shape, size, skin color, flesh color, and sweetness. Mangoes can have orange, yellow, green, or red flesh. The skin can be orange, yellow, reddish, red-green, or show more than one color.
As for the texture of the flesh, some cultivars (eg Tommy Atkins) are firm like avocado flesh and fibrous, while others (eg Alphonso) are pulpy and soft. You can typically find mangoes at the grocery store all the time because, although they're seasonal fruits, different types of mangoes are in season at different times of the year. This means a non-specified mango season isn't a reason not to indulge in this delicious ripe fruit all year round.
Mangoes are also a popular choice because they offer health benefits, and are rich in Vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, along with potassium, niacin, magnesium, and riboflavin.
How to Purchase the Best Mangoes
The color of a mango's skin is not a way to ensure freshness, as mangoes come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, and you might not know which of the mango varieties you have. Give the fruit a gentle squeeze. If the mango is ripe, it will give a little. If it's almost ripe it will be quite firm, while unripe mangoes will feel hard and have no aroma at all.
If the mango feels as soft and squishy as an overripe plum or peach, it's past its prime and your best option is to put it back. Ripe mangoes, those at peak ripeness, sometimes smell fruit at the stem end, so you can also try this method to determine how ripe (or not) a mango is.
How to Store Mangoes
Tropical fruits like raw mangoes are versatile and delicious. But if you don't know how to store them in different ways (depending on the ripeness of the mangoes) you might accidentally let them rot and then they won't be good for anything apart from compost fodder. The following tips should help you decide where and how to store them for a long time.
- Keep unripe mangoes somewhere dark and at room temperature to allow a smooth ripening process and stop them from ripening and spoiling too quickly. A fruit basket or the kitchen counter will work, as long as the fruit is kept out of direct sunlight.
- You can store the whole fruit in a plastic bag or loosely covered bowl or jar if they're almost ripe or in a brown paper bag if they're rather unripe, checking on them every day or two, and bearing in mind an unripe mango can take a week to ripen in a sealed paper bag.
- Once ripe, keep mangoes in the refrigerator, where they should be good for 5 or 6 days.
- If you want to freeze mangoes, peel them, discard the pit, and cut them into cubes. Put the cut mangoes in an airtight container or Ziploc bags, squeezing out as much air as you can. Freeze them horizontally, not upright, so they freeze evenly and eat within 6 months.
- Frozen mangos that develop black spots have freezer burn (air came into contact with them). Although they're safe to consume, the flavor won't be as nice.
How to Identify a Rotten Mango
While fresh mangoes have a fruity aroma and a moderately firm texture when gentle pressure is applied, over-ripe or spoiled ones might have black or mushy skin and smell sour. If the mango pulp is discolored or smells sour, throw the fruit away. If there are only small patches of discoloration on the skin, you can use these overripe mangoes to make smoothies, sorbets, or similar.
There's no doubt mangos can be sticky and messy, which is why there is a right way to cut them and it's a good idea to know it. First, place the fruit on its side so a pointed end is facing toward you. Use a serrated knife (or a plain one if you don't have a serrated one) to cut off one of the "cheeks". Flip the mango and repeat with the other side. Now score the flesh in a crisscross pattern without cutting right the way through the skin, and then push on the skin so the mango chunks come off. Discard the skin and pit, and enjoy your mango chunks.
Mangoes can be wonderful when included in savory dishes such as salads and curry recipes. They can be pickled or used to make sweet, tangy chutneys. Add them to rice paper rolls with seafood and other raw vegetables, or try them as an unusual taco topping. You can also mash it with mustard and mayonnaise for a dressing or finely chop it to make salsa. Other ideas include adding diced mango to an Asian-inspired rice or noodle bowl or serving it alongside spicy crab cakes.
Interesting Mango Facts
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from a mango, rather than a knife, and you won't waste as much of the flesh.
- Mango trees have long life expectancies - there are some mango trees around today that have been producing mangos for 300 years.
- Mangoes are the national fruit of the Philippines, India, and Pakistan, and the mango tree is Bangladesh's national tree.
When you know the best way to store mangoes from the grocery store or farmers market, you might want to try some different mango recipes or at least enjoy this fruit more often. It's easy to discover how to store mangoes to keep them fresh and juicy,