It’s mango season! These bright and tangy fruit are popping up at a market near you. And if you follow these quick tips next time you're at the store, you're guaranteed to pick a perfectly ripe mango. If, for some reason you follow these steps and end up picking a bad mango, then I will reimburse you.
Just kidding, inflation is way too high right now. But read on anyway and I’ll show you the best way to buy, cut, and how to store mango.
When is mango season?
Peak season runs from May through September, though you can find mangos at your market all-year round. In the U.S., mangos are grown in both Florida and California. The most common varieties you'll find at a supermarket are Timmy Atkins, Haden, Keitt and Kent mangos.
How to pick the best mango
If you want to cut a mango into perfect chunks without hacking away at a hard, unripe mango and ending up with an inedible, stringy mess - you'll need to pick the right one.
Focus on feel, not color. Mango varieties come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes so the color is not the best indicator of ripeness. All you have to do is give it a gentle squeeze.
A ripe mango will give slightly, while an unripe mango will be firm to the touch - similar to a peach or avocado. If you like more of a sour-tart flavor, look for a firm mango and use within 1-2 days since they get softer and sweeter as they ripen.
You may also notice a fruity aroma from the stem if it's ripe. So go-ahead, give it a sniff and make direct eye contact with anyone judging you, they clearly don't know how to pick a mango.
Ripe mango checklist
- Color is irrelevant
- Sweet aroma coming from the stem
- Gives a little when pressed
How to cut a mango
Mangos can be one of the more challenging fruits to properly cut. But fear not, follow these simple steps and you’ll have perfect mango chunks in seconds.
Step 1: Position mango with the stem side down on a cutting board. Using a pairing knife, cut alongside the wide part of the pit as close to it as possible. Cut from the top of the mango down one side of the pit.
Step 2: Repeat on the other side of the mango.
Step 3: Cut the two small sides of the middle section of the mango from the top down the side towards the stem.
Step 4: Score the mango flesh by making lengthwise and crosswise cuts. Be careful not to cut through the peel. Pop open the mango by pushing the skin side down towards your thumb.
How to remove mango peels
Use your paring knife to cut along the peel of the mango and carefully remove the pieces from the peel.
An alternative method is to use a spoon to scoop the flesh. This is ideal if you don’t feel comfortable using a knife or want to get a little more mango out of the skin.
Take a small glass cup with a thin rim to scoop out the mango pieces from the peel in one motion from top to bottom. While this method removes the most mango from the peel, it can make the mango chunks mushy.
How to store Ripe mango
A soft, ripe mango can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Keep unripe mangos at room temperature. They shouldn’t be refrigerated before they are ripe.
If you want to speed up the ripening process, place unripe mangos in a brown bag and leave on the counter for 2 days.
How to store cut mango
In the fridge
Cut mango can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
In the freezer
You can freeze mango chunks in a freezer-bag for up to six months.
Recipes with mango
If you haven’t tried mango salsa, you’re missing out. It pairs perfectly with avocados and makes for a juicy, sweet taco topping.
You can also use mango to marinate fish, pork or chicken. Toss fresh mangos in a green or fruit salad, use frozen chunks in a smoothie or add dried mango to trail mix.