4 Reasons Why Your Mango Is Brown Inside

Mangoes are delicious, but if you have ever purchased one of these that looks fine outside, and not remotely fine when you cut it open, you may be wondering, why is my mango brown inside?

Mangoes can turn brown inside for a few different reasons, including the mango being overripe, or having got bruised in the center. Brown mangoes may also be caused by hot water, being stored in an excessively cold environment, or just the normal rotting process.

Reason One: Being Overripe

Sometimes, mangoes start to turn brown in their center because of a process known as autolysis, the self-destruction of the tissues. All fruits are capable of this, and it essentially occurs when the tissues start to break down because the fruit is releasing an enzyme that destroys its own cells.

overripe mango

This enzyme is known as polyphenol oxidase and when the fruit is exposed to oxygen, it can change the phenolic compounds in the fruit, turning them into quinones.

The quinones react with other compounds that are present in the fruit, and the reaction creates melanin – which is brown and therefore causes the fruit’s flesh to become brown.

This process is also known as self-digestion, and once it has started, it will continue, spreading throughout the inside of your mango. It may be in response to damage, or may just be that the cells are old and the fruit is getting too ripe to eat.

If your fruit is breaking down due to autolysis, it is probably past its best, but you can choose to eat it if you would like to. The brown flesh will not hurt you, but it will not taste too good, and may be mushy.

If it is localized, try cutting it out of the fruit and eating the rest, but don’t be surprised if the overall flavor is not particularly good. Often, overripe fruit tastes sugary, mushy, and unpleasant.

Reason Two: Bruising In The Center

Sometimes, mangoes will turn brown in the center because the flesh has been damaged. This releases the same enzyme into the flesh, even though it is not old, and causes the same browning process through the production of melanin.

It might surprise you to learn that mango can be brown in the center even though the skin appears good, but this is possible. Often, the damage will show on the skin as well, but some knocks can result in just a brown center. Frustratingly, this means you don’t always know that the fruit is bad before you cut into it.

Bruising is again safe to eat but often results in mushy, flavorless flesh. It’s often a good idea to gently squeeze the mangoes in the store, checking whether they seem firm, or whether any spots feel mushy. You may be able to feel bruising even if you can’t see it.

If the bruising is localized, you may be able to simply cut around it, remove it, and enjoy the rest of the mango. This should still taste fine, as the remaining flesh won’t have broken down much, and will still be firm and full of nutrients.

However, if the bruising has spread, you may need to throw the mango away.

Reason Three: Hot Water

You might be puzzled that your mango could have been damaged by hot water if you’ve never put it anywhere near hot water, but actually, all mangoes entering the US are given a “hot bath” as part of the shipping process.

This is intended to kill off any insects on the fruit, and lasts for 90 minutes. It is not usually enough to damage a mango’s flesh, but sometimes, something goes wrong and it creates internal browning.

hot water

This may happen if the mango gets too close to the heating element and therefore gets hotter than it should, or it could occur if the mango is left in the water for too long. The water is 115 degrees F, so it is hot enough to damage mangoes if they soak for too long.

In some cases, even if nothing goes wrong, a more delicate mango gets damaged by the heat. This damage will not be visible on the fruit’s surface, so you won’t be able to tell prior to cutting the mango open. The browning is again caused by compounds in the fruit leaking out and reacting with each other and with oxygen.

Mangoes that have been damaged internally will go off faster, but they should be okay to eat for a short while after the damage has occurred. Cut away any brown flesh and eat the rest. If the browning is minor, you can eat it too.

There’s not much that you can do to determine that a mango has been damaged by heat before you purchase it, unfortunately. You just have to hope for the best, as this is a fairly rare issue.

Reason Four: A Cold Environment

Just as extreme heat will damage a mango, so will extreme cold, and mangoes are also subjected to this as they travel. The cold keeps them fresh for longer, slowing the rotting process, but it can occasionally damage them.

Note that in most cases, cold storage will not damage a mango, and you don’t need to worry about this. However, if the mango is exposed to extreme cold or is left in cold storage for too long, it may start to break down the cells.

This will cause compound leakage, melanin production, and browning inside the fruit. Unfortunately, there’s also little that you can do to avoid this kind of mango, but you should be able to cut away the brown and enjoy the rest of the fruit.

Conclusion

Mangoes can turn brown for a number of reasons, but it is often the result of some kind of damage. Be aware of this when you are buying mangoes, and look out for squashy spots or browning on the skin that may indicate there is a deeper bruise inside the fruit. Often, you can cut this away and eat the rest, but overripe flesh may be unpleasant and mushy.

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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