When selecting the perfect mango, be aware of the level of ripeness needed for the dish. The three levels of ripeness for mangos are unripe (green), ripe and overripe. You may notice subtle differences between varieties.
Unripe (green*) mangos:
- There are two types of unripe mangos: immature unripe mangos and mature unripe mangos. Their characteristics are similar.
- Skin is firm and tight when squeezed lightly
- The stem end has very little or no aroma
- Skin color is not the best judge of ripeness, but it might be more green and/or dull
- Flesh will be more green or light yellow, crisp in texture
- Tart or sour flavor, with some sweet accents
*Green refers to an unripe mango not to a mango with green skin. Always use your sense of touch to judge the ripeness of a mango.
- Skin should give a little when squeezed lightly but not leave an impression
- The stem end might give off a tropical, sweet scent
- Skin color, although not the best judge of ripeness, could turn from green to yellow
- Flesh will be rich yellow/orange in most varieties, soft in texture
- Sweet, tropical flavor
- If the mango is unripe for its purpose, it can be stored at room temperature to ripen – never refrigerate a mango until it has reached its desired ripeness
- Ripe mangos can be refrigerated whole for up to a week, 2 to 3 days cut or pureed and frozen up to 6 months cut or pureed
Fully ripe mangos:
- Skin should give significantly to the touch and could leave impression
- The stem end is likely to have a strong, sweet aroma
- Skin color could be more red and yellow
- Flesh will be rich yellow/orange, very soft texture
- Very sweet, tropical flavor
- Overripe mangos can be refrigerated whole for up to a week, 2 to 3 days cut or pureed and frozen up to 6 months cut or pureed