How to Shop, Pick and Store Mangoes: Ultimate Guide
Mangoes are some of the most nutritious and delicious fruits on the face of the planet. While they are available all year round in the US, it’s during summer where more varieties are available. Because many of them are seasonal, you might be wondering how mangoes should be stored to extend their shelf life.
Ripe mangoes keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Refrigerating unripe mangoes slows down ripening. Both ripe and unripe mangoes keep longer in the freezer. Mangoes may be dried, which will extend their shelf life to a year when kept at room temperature and up to two years when frozen.
But before anything else, it’s of utmost importance that you pick the right mangoes at the store if you want them to stay around for as long as they possibly can.
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to get your hands on mangoes that can impress. There are, however, some misconceptions about shopping for these tropical fruits that you need to ditch.
Keep on reading to know the steps you need to take to shop for (and store) mangoes like a pro!
How to Pick a Mango at the Store
The color should not be the deciding factor when picking a mango at the store. Different varieties come in different colors when ripe. The mangoes to pick should be soft but not mushy. They should also smell sweet and fruity, most especially around the stem. Opt for heavy, plump and round mangoes.
Most people simply look at the color of mangoes if they want to bring them home and enjoy them at once — many consumers immediately place the most yellow mangoes that they can find in their shopping carts.
Unfortunately, just like what was mentioned above, different varieties of mangoes have different colors when already ripe.
For instance, some go from green to yellow or red. Others go from yellow to orange. There are also mangoes that are purple when ripe. It’s a good idea to be familiar with different mango varieties.
Instead of focusing on the color, concentrate on the softness and smell as these characteristics will tell you more about the mangoes that you are about to purchase and bring home.
The right mangoes to place in your shopping cart are slightly soft to the touch, just like peaches and apricots. Stay away from anything whose skin you can pierce with your fingers.
Take a whiff of the stem — if the sweet and fruity smell leaves your mouth watering, then it’s the right mango to take with you to the checkout counter.
It’s perfectly normal for mangoes to have some brown spots. However, it’s not normal if they are mostly brown. Also, refrain from buying anything with dry and shriveled skin.
How to shop for unripe mangoes
Most unripe mangoes are green. However, some are yellow. The color depends on the variety of mangoes. The best unripe mangoes to get are firm ones. Unripe mangoes that are sticky due to too much the sap may take a while to ripen. On the other hand, those without a lot of sap are close to ripening.
Unripe mangoes may be eaten, too. In many Asian countries, they are consumed in the form of a salad. Unripe mangoes can also be turned into beverages. However, they can be consumed as they are as well.
As a matter of fact, if you are a health-conscious individual, it’s a wonderful idea to add unripe mangoes to your diet every now and then.
That’s because they pack more vitamin C than ripe mangoes, and their tart taste is a testament to this. They contain more antioxidants, too.
However, health authorities say that you should eat no more than one unripe mango a day. Otherwise, you may end up with throat irritation and indigestion as they are extremely firm and fibrous.
Unripe mangoes will continue to ripen every day. The closer they are to being ripe, the quicker the ripening process will be.
It’s important to take the right steps when storing unripe mangoes, which we will talk about in a few. Don’t stop reading now if you are planning to shop for some unripe mangoes.
How to Store Unripe Mangoes
Unripe mangoes are easy to store at home properly. Leaving them on the counter at room temperature causes them to ripen in a matter of days. To protect them from being feasted on by insects while ripening, cover unripe mangoes with food domes or food covers that are out of plastic or metal mesh.
If you want unripe mangoes to ripe faster, all you need to do is place them in a brown paper bag and leave them at room temperature. Allow them to stay there for two days or until they are completely ripe.
That’s how incredibly simple the steps are on how to store mangoes to ripen!
The secret to making unripe mangoes ripen at a normal pace is leaving them anywhere in your kitchen for as long as it’s cool and dry.
This is why if you don’t want them to ripen quickly, all you have to do is keep them away from room temperature, and this can be easily achieved by stashing unripe mangoes in the fridge or freezer.
How to store raw mango in freezer
There is no need to store raw mangoes in the freezer for a long time. A couple of hours will do, after which they will have to be transferred to the fridge.
But before that, unripe mangoes should be peeled, sliced, and soaked in a sugar and vinegar solution first to make them last for up to a year.
Below, you will come across the steps on how to store unripe mangoes in the freezer and then the refrigerator. But be very careful because an unripe mango can be difficult to peel and slice compared to a ripe mango.
If you are very good at using the knife, here’s what you should do:
- Using a sharp knife or peeler, carefully peel unripe mangoes.
- Slice peeled unripe mangoes into small strips.
- Get a bowl with enough water to cover the strips of unripe mangoes.
- Add a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of vinegar, and then stir.
- Allow the strips of unripe mangoes to soak in the solution for five minutes.
- Drain the solution and dry the strips with kitchen paper.
- Transfer to an airtight plastic container or a Ziploc bag.
- Place in the freezer for two hours.
- After two hours, transfer the strips of unripe mangoes to the fridge.
Follow these steps, and those raw mangoes will stay in a phenomenal shape in the refrigerator for up to one year.
To consume them, take them out of the fridge. Allow warming to room temperature for a few minutes.
How to Store Mango in Fridge
Mangoes can be stored in the refrigerator either whole and unpeeled or peeled and sliced. No matter the preference, it can slow down the ripening process, thus keeping mangoes in perfect ripeness for up to a couple of weeks. To keep them longer, ripe mangoes should be stored in the freezer instead.
One of the reasons for storing ripe mangoes in the refrigerator is to considerably slow down the ripening process.
Especially if you are not planning on consuming them anytime soon, leaving them on a countertop will leave you with mangoes that are overripe, which are no longer delightful to look at and eat.
To extend the shelf life of ripe mangoes anywhere from one to two weeks, refrigerate them.
You can keep them in the fridge whole and unpeeled. Or you can peel and slice or cube them, and place them in an airtight plastic container or a Ziploc bag.
It is best to place ripe mangoes outside the crisper drawer to make sure that the temperature is low enough to really slow down their ripening process.
These are not the only steps on how to store cut up mango that you can take. If you want them to stay fresh for up to six months, you can keep them in the freezer.
Just make sure that you store them first in an airtight plastic container or a ziploc bag to keep freezer burn at bay.
How to Store A Cut Mango
But before you store mangoes in the fridge cut up, they need to be sliced properly first. Many of those who tried slicing mangoes for the first time, whether ripe or unripe, ended up terrified.
That’s because they never thought that it would be that difficult to slice mangoes because of the pit and the texture, particularly when ripe.
Well, it’s challenging to cut mangoes for immediate consumption or for storage only if you don’t know how to do it the right way — yes, there is a proper way to cut mangoes, ripe or unripe alike.
If you want to know how to cut a ripe mango like a pro, learn the following steps by heart:
- Holding the mango with one hand, allow it to stand stem side down. Imagine the flat pit with an oblong shape sitting pretty in the dead center of the fruit, perpendicular to the countertop or table.
- Reach for a sharp knife and slice from the top of the mango, dodging the pit. Flip the mango and repeat. You should end up with three sliced mango pieces: the middle section with the pit and two fleshy halves.
- Take a half and make horizontal and vertical slices. Invert the mango half to make the pieces stick out. Hold the mango half over a bowl, and use a spoon to separate the slices from the peel. Repeat with the other half. To cut a ripe mango into strips, make lengthwise slices and separate them from the peel with a spoon.
- Peel the middle section and slice away the flesh parts surrounding the pit.
That’s how you cut a ripe mango like you have been cutting ripe mangoes all your life!
Cutting an unripe mango is easier because its flesh isn’t soft as the flesh of a ripe mango, which makes slicing it somewhat difficult. But before anything else, peel an unripe mango with a knife or peeler.
Preserving Mangoes by Dehydrating Them
Aside from the freezer or refrigerator, there is another kitchen appliance that you can count on if you want ripe mangoes to stay in tip-top shape for as long as possible.
It’s none other than a food dehydrator, which is something that dehydrates fruits and vegetables, just like what its name pretty much suggests.
Especially if fresh produce is an integral part of your everyday diet to stay in the pink of health, it is a wonderful idea for you to get your hands on a food dehydrator and use it regularly, too.
Just about any fruit or vegetable that you can think of can be dehydrated, which helps extend their shelf life substantially.
With the help of a food dehydrator, it is possible to enjoy seasonal fresh produce, including mangoes, all year round.
So, in other words, the use of this kitchen appliance can help you remain healthy no matter the season. Check the best food dehydrators for mangoes here.
But just because mangoes are dehydrated doesn’t mean that they will no longer go bad. Well, they will still go bad. The good news is that they will not go bad as quickly as non-dehydrated mangoes.
After dehydrating mangoes, it’s still a must to store them properly if the goal is to make them last for a long time.
So yes, even though dehydrating improves the shelf life of mangoes by a great deal, dried mangoes still require some love and care if the goal is to keep them around for the longest time possible.
How to store dried mango
Dried mangoes should be stored in a cool, dry place. They should be protected from moisture, which can shorten their shelf life. Dried mangoes may be stored in the freezer, too, where they can keep for up to two years. Supermarket-bought dried mangoes can be kept in their unopened packaging.
Even though they are already dehydrated and thus exhibiting an extremely long shelf life, dried mangoes may still be stored like non-dehydrated mangoes, which means that you have a few options.
Dried mangoes can last anywhere from half a year to a year when stored in the pantry or cupboard. For best results, they should be kept in an airtight container, either plastic or glass.
The container of your choice should be stashed in a cool and dry area. Never place the container in direct sunlight or near a source of heat.
To extend their shelf life to one to two years, keep dehydrated mangoes in the freezer. Just make sure that you place them in a freezer-safe plastic container or bag to fend off freezer burn.
Supermarket-bought dried mangoes are easier to store — you can keep them in the packaging that they came in.
Check the best-by date to know how long you can keep them at room temperature. After opening, it’s recommendable to transfer dried mangoes to an airtight container.
Mango Leaves Also Have Health Benefits
Especially if you are a health-conscious person and you are into all-natural remedies and preventive measures, consider getting your hands on mango leaves.
Tender ones can be dried and crushed or turned into powder, which you can then consume as herbal tea that offers all sorts of amazing health benefits.
Here are some of the most impressive things associated with the intake of mango leaf tea:
- Improved diabetes management. What’s more, the intake of tea that’s out of mango leaves is also known to help deal with some diabetes complications, such as angiopathy and retinopathy.
- Lowered blood pressure. Because mango leaf tea helps keep high blood pressure in check by strengthening the blood vessels, it may also help improve the appearance of unsightly varicose veins.
- Dissolved kidney and gallbladder stones. Regular intake of steeped mango leaves is known to help dissolve stones in the kidneys and gallbladder, too, thus eliminating the need to undergo the knife.
- Optimized gut health. Mango leaf tea helps flush accumulated toxins and impurities from the gut, which then helps encourage good bacteria to multiply as well as improve gut health.
- Alleviated sunburn pain. Allowing tea out of mango leaves to cool in the refrigerator for a while makes for an effective and all-natural topical solution for pain brought about by nasty sunburns.
There are many more health perks that mango leaves can bring, particularly when consumed in the form of tea.
Mango leaves can be purchased from many Asian markets and health and food stores in your area.
How to store mango leaves
To keep mango leaves fresh for up to a week, store them in the refrigerator. Before doing so, roll them in either newspaper or kitchen paper to protect them from collecting excess moisture. Mango leaves may also be placed in a ziploc bag and stashed in the freezer where they will keep for weeks.
If you cannot dry and crush or pulverize mango leaves for herbal tea making, it’s a must that you keep them fresh to keep their nutrients and many potent chemical compounds intact.
You can also buy crushed or pulverized mango leaves, but there is joy in making the herbal tea from scratch with your own two hands.
To store your homemade mango leaf tea so that you may have a health-giving cup each time, place it in an airtight container and store it in a cool and dry place. You may also store it in the refrigerator.
Just Before You Buy and Store Mangoes
Mangoes are undeniably delicious. More importantly, they are extremely nutritious.
Unfortunately, ripe mangoes can become overripe quickly, and unripe mangoes can fully ripen in no time. This is why it’s a definite must that you know how to store mangoes for a long time the right way.
Follow the simple tips and tricks above, and you’re golden just like a beautifully ripe mango!