While watermelon will always be considered the fruit of the summer, mangoes are a pretty close second. This delicious, tropical fruit is great for eating on its own or served in foods and drinks such as summery cocktails, mango chutney and even in ready mango chews to help with hangovers.
They come with a ton of health benefits as well, including digestive aid through the mango's phytochemicals, which offer both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties to the digestive system. Like any fruit, the shelf life of mangoes isn’t that long. Eat them too quickly, and they might not be ripe enough; eat them too late, and it could be mush galore.
How to Tell When Red or Green Mangoes Are Ready to Eat
- The outside feel and inside texture: If you’re wondering what a ripe mango looks like, then you’ve come to the right place. It should have a slightly soft texture, similar to that of a peach. If it's too firm, it’s not ripened. If it's too soft, it’s probably mushy inside.
Since mangoes do vary in size, ripeness levels and different types, it’s important to remember this when chewing on a mango. You will either experience a soft, pulpy texture or a firmer flesh.
- The color: Mangoes already contain a mixture of different colors, including red, orange, yellow and green. The thing is that some mangoes do not change color as they ripen, so squeezing them is the best way to determine if they're ripened. The color of a mango tells you more about the different kind that it is more than anything else.
- Smell: Mangoes don't just taste sweet. When ripe, they emit a sweet scent from the stem end of the fruit.
How to Tell When a Honey Mango Is Ripe
A honey mango goes by several different names, including "Champagne." It has golden skin and a sweeter flesh on the inside.
To tell if a honey mango is ripe, follow the same steps that you would for any other type of mango. However, one major difference between honey mangoes and all the rest when determining its ripeness is that ripe honey mangoes have wrinkled outer skin.
Additionally, if a honey mango has a few brown spots or scars, don’t worry. This is common and doesn't mean that it has gone bad.
How to Tell When Mangoes Are Ripe on the Tree
While most of the world's mangoes are grown in India, it is possible to grow your own mango right in your backyard with the proper setup and climate. They thrive in frost-free, tropical climates.
Begin by inspecting the fruit. Although it’s been established that color isn't a good indicator of whether a mango is ripe or not, when ripened on a tree, they typically take on a color of uniform pale green or yellow with markings. Red mangoes will become purplish-red at the base.
The shape should be plump and sort of like a football. The fruit’s fragrance should be sweet and fruity. When squeezing the mango, it should be soft and not mushy. If your mango meets all these standards, then it's ready to be picked from the tree.
Popular Ways to Eat Mangoes
There are many creative ways to use mangoes in your daily meals. It all starts with the most important meal of the day: breakfast. You can add chunks to your morning smoothie or eat them on their own (ready-to-eat packages at the grocery store work great for this).
For lunch and dinner, they act as a great topping for salads, or you could grill up some mango chicken. After dinner, go ahead and enjoy that mango-infused cocktail.
- Spoon University: How to Tell if a Mango Is Ripe or Not
- BBC Good Food: The Health Benefits of Mango
- The Better India: Food for Thought: Unpeeling the Mango’s Interesting History in India
- Epicurious: Why Champagne Mangoes Are the Champagne of Mangoes
- Champagne Mango: Ripeness Guide: How To Spot a Ripe Mango
- Leslie Beck: Mango
- SF Gate: How to Choose or Pick a Ripe Mango
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.