Have you ever picked up a mango, looking forward to ripening the fruit at home, only to find that it is soft even though it’s still green? This can be pretty confusing.
A green mango can still be a ripe mango. It is perfectly safe to eat green mangoes that have ripened properly, and some mangoes stay green even when they are ripe. Green mangoes can be soft, sweet, and delicious, just like red ones. The color is one sign of ripeness, but it isn’t the only one.
In this article, we’ll explore why some mangoes stay green even once they have ripened, and how you can tell if a mango is ripe.
Are Green Mangoes Ready To Eat?
In most cases, the green coloration on your mango indicates that it is not ready to eat and you need to wait longer before you cut into it. However, sometimes, green mangoes are soft and ripe, and you can eat them. You can eat your mango if:
- It is soft and gives a little if you squeeze it gently
- It smells fruity; unripe mangoes have minimal scent, but a ripe mango should smell rich and succulent
- The skin around the stem of the mango has started to shrivel up, wrinkling lightly
- There is juice around the stem of the mango, especially if you lightly squeeze it
If you have picked up a green mango and you want to know if it is ripe, you should check for the above signs. Start by lightly squeezing the mango and see if the skin remains dented around where you have touched it. If it does, this indicates that the mango is ripe and ready to eat.
You should also smell the mango, as this is one of the clearest indications of ripeness. It will have a particularly strong scent around the stem, but you should be able to smell the sugar of the mango’s juices if you sniff any part of the fruit and it is ready to eat.
Although you can sometimes tell that a mango is ripe by looking at its color, this is not usually a very reliable guide, even in mangoes that do turn yellow or orange when they are ready to eat. Using other factors is a much more accurate way to tell if the mango is ready to eat.
Why Do Some Mangoes Stay Green?
There are a few reasons that a mango might stay green even once it has ripened. Some varieties of mangoes, such as the harumanis mango, simply stay green and will never turn yellow. Sometimes, however, mangoes stay green because of how they have been grown.
A wide variety of growing issues can lead to green mangoes. For example, if the trees are not given enough water while the fruits are growing, their skins will stay greener even once they have ripened. This means that proper irrigation is important for the growers.
Another influencing factor is the amount of sun that the tree gets while growing. If the sun is falling directly on its leaves, it is more likely to produce fruits that turn yellow as they ripen. Trees that grow in the shade often stay greener.
Other factors, such as the ripening temperature, make a difference too. Mangoes that are ripened at low temperatures tend to be green, and fruits that ripen with limited amounts of ethylene gas are also greener. Fruits that have been damaged during transit may stay greener too.
Are Green Mangoes Safe To Eat?
A green mango is fine to eat provided that it is ripe, as this means the starches have turned into sugars, and the fruit is ready. Unripe mangoes are not unsafe, but they won’t taste nice and eating a lot of them could cause irritation and indigestion. It is best to let mangoes fully ripen before you eat them.
Unfortunately, because of the idea that mangoes should be yellow, orange, or red when they are ripe, many people avoid buying green mangoes, even if they are soft and they smell good. This means that they are less commercially desirable, and may lead to the fruits being rejected, even though they are perfectly edible.
If you’ve got a green mango that has all the signs of being ripe, don’t worry about eating it. It won’t hurt you at all.
How Do You Ripen A Mango?
If you have purchased a mango that isn’t yet ready to eat, you can ripen it at home very easily. The best way to do this is to place the mango in a brown paper bag and put it in a dry, warm (but not hot) place for a few days. The paper bag will trap the ethylene gas that the mango naturally produces, and this encourages ripening.
You can also just put the mango in your fruit bowl to ripen, but it will be a little slower. It may take a week or even two weeks for a mango to ripen at home, but it should eventually become soft enough to eat. Make sure you check on it regularly.
Smell and squeeze the fruit every day or two to see whether it is ready to eat. You can use the color as an approximate guide in many cases, but on the whole, it’s better to use the smell and the degree of firmness.
These are much more accurate and will ensure you don’t miss a ripe mango and leave it in the fruit bowl for so long that it goes off. Don’t ripen a mango in the fridge, as it will take a very long time to ripen, or may never become ripe.
If you have bought a mango that is soft but still green, it should be ready to eat. To make sure, smell it, but in most cases, once the fruit has softened, it’s ripe. Don’t worry about green hues lingering in the skin; there are plenty of explanations for this and they won’t affect how the mango tastes.