Mangoes are delicious tropical fruits that are low in fat yet high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and can help support healthy skin, immunity and digestion. (Add them to fruit smoothies for a refreshing breakfast or dice them into salsas and salads.)
Despite all the pros of eating mangoes, there's one major con: Green mangoes can be difficult to tell when they're ripe, much like avocados.
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Here, registered dietitian Andrea Mathis, RDN, LD explains what to do with that unripe mango you've already cut into. (And yes, it's totally safe to eat unripe mangoes. They just might not taste as good.)
How Do You Know When Mangos Are Ripe?
Ripe mangoes come in a variety of colors, including green, yellow and red. A ripe mango has an even, glossy color, has a fruity scent at the stem end, and should yield to gentle pressure when squeezed.
Hard mangoes are usually unripe. If the mango won't be used within a few days, it's best to buy a firmer mango so it doesn't spoil too quickly.
How to Ripen a Cut Mango Quickly
Things You'll Need
1. Cover the Mango or Place It in a Paper Bag
Take your cut unripe mango and quickly cover it with plastic wrap so it stays fresh.
To ripen a mango faster, place it inside a paper bag, either by itself or with other fruits.
2. Let It Sit Out
Allow the mango to sit at room temperature.
Do not place unripe mangoes in the refrigerator as the cold delays the ripening process, according to the National Mango Board.
3. Wait For the Mango to Ripen
Ripening usually occurs between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and can take 3 to 8 days, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Check the mango once a day.
Once ripe, use immediately or transfer to the refrigerator for later use.
4. Cut Discolored Portions
If you let the mango sit at room temperature for too long, the exterior of the mango may turn brown or discolored in some areas. Overripe mangoes begin to rot and become wrinkled.
If yours has, simply cut around these imperfect parts.
5. Use the Ripened Mango
You can use the ripened mango as you usually would — in fruit salads, smoothies, salsas and so on. Once it's ripe, you have about 2 to 3 days to use it if you leave it at room temperature or 5 to 7 days if kept refrigerated.
You can also freeze the chopped ripe mango — frozen fruit technically doesn't go bad.
How to Use Unripe Mango
If you don't want to wait a couple of days for the unripe fruit to ripen, you can still get some use out of an unripe mango you've cut into.
A green mango will taste sour and add some nice zing to chutneys and salsas. Here are some ways to use unripe mango, according to Oregon State University:
- Pickled salad
- Smoothies and other drinks
- Hot mango dishes
- Fruit leathers