Mangoes are delicious tropical fruits that are enjoyable whether eaten plain, in a juice, shake, smoothie, or added to your favorite dishes.
They have been around for quite some time and are available in over 500 different varieties in various parts of the world.
They are low in calories and packed with essential nutrients, particularly vitamin C, that help build immunity and boost growth.
Just as any other fruit, mangoes have a limited life and can go bad if not stored properly and consumed within a certain timeframe.
If you’ve never eaten a mango before, it may be difficult for you to tell if it is ripe, overripe, or has gone bad. Luckily, there are simple ways to tell if a mango is bad and to save yourself from an unpleasant experience.
So, how to tell if a mango is bad? A bad mango has a very soft and mushy texture and an exaggeration of any dark spots and bruises. Other than that, it may start to ooze, give off a sour or alcoholic smell, and have signs of mold. If any of these signs start to show, it’s time to discard the mango.
Read on to find out how to tell a perfectly ripe mango from an overripe one and how to ideally store them to prolong their shelf life.
Signs of an Overripe Mango
Some of the obvious ways to tell if a mango has gone bad include changes in its texture, appearance, smell, and color.
When assessing its ripeness, the first thing you should rely on is how the fruit feels in your hand. If it feels alright to touch but the color isn’t quite there yet, don’t get confused and consider it ripe anyway.
To check the texture of the mango, grip the fruit at the top near the stem using your fingers. Apply light pressure to check how soft it is.
If the mango gives a little, it is perfectly ripe and ready to eat. However, if the slight press pierces the fruit, it is overripe.
It may also be useful to note that ripe mangoes oftentimes develop a few wrinkles on the skin. When they become overripe and start to go bad, the wrinkles become deeper and start to cover a large portion of the fruit.
To check for the presence of wrinkles, you can lightly rub your fingertips on the surface of the mango and feel its skin for any such unusual signs.
A few brown spots and speckles are completely normal in mangoes. In fact, sometimes they are an indication that the mangoes are ripe and ready to eat.
The problem arises when they develop large black spots that continue deep down.
If you see oozing liquid out of the damaged skin, it’s best to discard the mango. Also, mold is a big sign that your mango’s bad and you know exactly what you must do with it (throw it out).
Also, once you cut an overripe mango, you’ll notice that the inside of the fruit is squishy to touch and has a different, darker color as compared to other ripe mangoes.
The smell of a mango is a great indicator of how ripe the fruit is. The best way to check its smell is to give it a good whiff near the stem area since the smell is the strongest there and will give you a better idea of how the mango actually smells.
If it is a strong, fruity, and sweet smell, chances are that the mango has fully ripened and is at the right stage to be eaten.
However, if it gives off a sour or alcoholic, or even somewhat bitter scent, it is a clear sign of the mango being overripe and rotting.
The reason why mangoes develop such a strong smell as they start to go bad is the high sugar content in them that makes them ferment naturally, making an overripe mango taste most likely as bad as it smells.
Mangoes are found in different colors ranging from green to yellow, orange, red, and purple. The color of a ripe mango depends on the variety of the mango in question.
As discussed above, there are over 500 different varieties of mangoes found across the world and they all exhibit a different color when they are ripe and ready to eat.
Some varieties may stay green even when ripe, while others may turn a bright yellow or deep orange when ready.
Therefore, you must not rely solely on the color of the mango to check for its ripeness and use it only as a backup indicator.
How Long Do Mangoes Last?
Mangoes, like any other fresh fruit, are perishable and have a limited shelf life. How long they last in your kitchen depends on how ripe they are.
For an unripe mango, depending on the type of fruit and how far along it is, it may take anywhere between 1-7 days to ripen.
One that is completely green and firm will take much longer to ripen than one that is already showing tints of yellow and softening a bit.
For a ripe mango, you can expect it to last a minimum of 5 days in the fridge if stored properly. You may get a couple of extra days if the fruit wasn’t fully ripe when kept in the refrigerator.
For a ripe mango that has been cut into cubes or slices, it should last a few days in the fridge as well. But keep in mind that whole fruits last longer than those that are peeled or cut into pieces.
How to Store Mangoes?
When it comes to properly storing mangoes, it all depends on whether they are ripe or unripe.
For unripe mangoes, it is best to keep them at room temperature. You can either put them in a paper bag or simply let them sit on the counter in a fruit basket.
Whatever you decide, just make sure there’s no direct sunlight where the mangoes are.
The paper bag technique is particularly useful if you need to speed up the ripening process. It helps trap the ethylene gas produced by the mango which helps with the maturing of the fruit.
To speed things up even further, you can take any other fruit or vegetable that produces ethylene gas and put it in the paper bag with the mangoes.
You can use tomatoes, avocados, apples, and bananas for this purpose. Just make sure to keep checking the mangoes every day or two.
Since mangoes continue to ripen at room temperature, once they are ripe, it is best to store them in the fridge where they can be kept for 5 to 14 days.
For sliced and diced mangoes, make sure to keep them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for a couple of days.
Now that we’ve gone over some ways to test out if your mangoes are ripe or have gone bad, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the topic!
Can You Freeze Mangoes?
Yes, you can. You can easily find frozen mangoes in the supermarket and there’s no reason you can’t do it at home yourself.
If you wish to store your mangoes for a longer time, you can simply pop them in the freezer where they’ll be good for up to 6 months. Here’s how:
- Wash, peel, and cut the mangoes into cubes, slices, or strips, depending on your preference and how you plan on using them after defrosting.
- Get a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper, or any shallow dish, and place the mango pieces on top of it in a way that they don’t touch each other.
- Put the sheet or dish in the freezer, preferably overnight, to let the mangoes freeze solid.
- Once the mangoes are frozen, transfer them into freezer bags, seal them tightly removing as much air as possible, and label them with the date for future reference.
Can You Eat Overripe Mangoes?
Overripe mangoes may not be the prettiest, but they can be consumed if they are a little past their prime.
Of course, it all comes down to personal preference; what might be too ripe for one may be just right for the other.
It’s important to understand that an overripe mango and a mango that has gone bad are two different things. Slightly overripe mangoes can be used in smoothies, as a puree, in desserts, or to make delicious mango jam or chutney.
Do a little taste test before you use your overripe mangoes in a recipe. If part of a mango is overripe beyond your liking, you may remove it and use the rest of the fruit.
Just make sure that you steer clear of mushy mangoes and ones with visible brown or black marks. Also, oozing liquid and mold growth is a big no and clear signs of the mango gone bad.
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