When Is a Mango Ripe

Mango is a super sweet fruit believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and India over 6,000 years ago. Today many world cuisines incorporate the use of fresh mango in recipes. Its widespread use makes it one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the world. If you'd like to add mangos to your diet, you must learn how to tell when a mango is ripe.

How to tell when a mango is ripe

Most varieties of unripe mangos eaten in the United States are green in color and slowly turn to a deep, golden yellow as they ripen. Another way to determine ripeness is by touch and smell. If the fruit feels slightly soft and an impression forms on the skin from your finger, and it has a sweet fragrance, then it's ready to eat. While this sounds easy enough, the mango can be a complicated fruit that requires trial error before you fully understand the ripening process.

How to ripen a mango

Place an unripe, green mango in an open bowl at room temperate for a few days. Another way to speed up the ripening process is to place the mango in a sealed paper bag and store at room temperature. Mangos ripen in a similar way to tomatoes and avocados that produce ethylene gas during the ripening process. After mangos are ripe, they can be refrigerated to prolong their shelf life up to a week or more.

How to cut a mango

The long, hard seed inside the mango makes cleaning tricky. One of the easiest techniques is as follows, once you get the hang of it:

  • Thoroughly wash the mango.
  • Using a sanitized knife and cutting board, place the mango on the board stem side down and hold in place.
  • Place your knife 1/4 inch from the widest center line and make a cut down the long side of the mango.
  • Flip the mango around to the other side and make a similar cut. You now have two ovals of mango flesh called "cheeks." The only part left should be the middle seed after you pull away the flesh.
  • To remove the skin, cut parallel slices into the cheek fruit without cutting through the skin. Rotate the cheek slightly and cut another set of parallel slices in checkerboard fashion.
  • Turn the slices "inside out" for easy removal of the fruit by either slicing it out or scooping it with a spoon.

Uses for mangos

The mango is a common ingredient in Asian cooking and has become popular around the world because of the natural sweetness it adds to a dish. Mango salsas are common to complement fish and meat dishes when combined with other ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, chilies, bell peppers and lemon or lime juice. This fruit is also commonly added to Asian dishes like sticky rice and in spicy barbecue sauces.

If you've never eaten a ripe mango or tried to incorporate this fruit into your cooking; give them a try. You'll see them at their peak in grocery stores during April and May.

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