Can’t book a tropical vacation? Try the next best thing: mangoes. One taste of these sweet, silky fruits and you might just become addicted. Whether they're cubed for a salad or blended into a smoothie, mangoes are perfectly refreshing on a warm day. Plus, they're loaded with nutrients like fiber and vitamin C. Make the most of mangoes with this handy guide to cutting, ripening, and enjoying everything these tropical fruits have to offer.
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All About Our Mangoes
Mangoes are tropical fruits, in every sense of the word — they need a tropical climate to grow. Throughout the spring and summer, you’ll see mangoes from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and California in Whole Foods Market stores. (You’ll see mangoes from South America in the fall and winter). And while you can find mangoes in stores year-round, spring and summer is a “bigger” season for them, which means it’s time to break them out and celebrate.
You might be thinking — hold on a second. Don’t mangoes also come from other places around the world? They do, and there are some really great varieties from places like India and Pakistan, but we don’t sell them in our U.S. stores because of certain USDA requirements for treatment protocols to prevent pests from entering the country. These treatments can include hot water treatment, which some thin-skinned or delicate mango varieties cannot withstand, or irradiation, which we don’t allow on our fresh produce, period.
How to Cut a Mango
Okay — now let’s talk about eating your mango. But first: How do you cut a mango? We’ve broken it down for you in three easy steps to show you how to get perfect mango cubes. You can also watch the above video to see the technique in action.
- Slice off two cheeks on either side of the flat pit.
- Cut a crisscross pattern into the fruit flesh of each cheek.
- Turn the cheeks inside out and cut away the cubes.
Best Ways to Use Cut Mango
Once you’ve cut your mango, there’s so much you can do with it. Mangoes are super versatile, as they go with both sweet and savory foods. Some of our favorite ideas include:
- Adding sliced mango to your avocado toast with mint, chili powder and salt.
- Making a shrimp ceviche with cooked shrimp, diced mango, avocado, cucumber and seasoning with lime juice, red onion, jalapeño and salt and pepper.
- Blend mango chunks into an agua fresca, smoothie or cocktail.
- Grilling mango halves and using them as a dessert base; serve with coconut milk ice cream and drizzle with honey and toasted coconut flakes.
- Adding mango chunks to your next seafood or pork kebab and glazing it with teriyaki sauce before grilling — sprinkling with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
- Adding cubed mango to overnight vanilla bean chia pudding for some tropical sweetness.
How to Tell If a Mango if Ripe
The color of a mango isn't necessarily the best indicator of ripeness. While a red blush tint to the skin may seem like a telltale sign, it's actually not related to ripeness, maturity or quality. Instead, go by how it feels: You’ll know your mango is ripe when it has a slight give, much like a peach or an avocado A fully mature mango will also have full cheeks — perfect for cutting into.
How to Ripen a Mango
You can ripen a mango at home by placing a firm mango on the counter at room temperature — or speed up the process by placing your mango in a paper bag. You can slow down the ripening process by putting a ripe mango into the fridge. Not all mangoes are the same, and some varieties may shift from dark to light green as they ripen.