My Mango Has White Spots: Is It Safe To Eat?

Cutting into a mango is an exciting experience if you love these fruits, but what do you do if you find that you cut the fruit open and there are white spots inside? Can you still safely eat it?

White spots on your mango are usually starch pockets with air in them. These pockets are perfectly safe to eat, but you might notice that the taste and texture aren’t the best. When the sugars in a fruit turn into starch, they lose their sweetness and that classic mango flavor will disappear.

We’re going to look at how this happens, why it happens, and whether you should eat mangoes that have white spots in the centers.

What Causes White Spots Inside A Mango?

mango

A ripe mango should be rich orange or yellow inside, with a pit in the center. The riper the mango is, the bright its flesh will be, but sometimes, you’ll open up a mango to find that it has little pockmarked white holes in the flesh. 

These are almost always the result of starch forming in the fruit, and this is often the result of how the mango has been handled during picking. They need to be submerged in hot water to kill fruit flies, but this submerging process can cause some of the sugars to change to starches. The process is usually something like this:

  • Growers pick the mangoes, using the common signs to judge whether they are ripe or not. Sometimes, a few immature or half-ripe mangoes get picked and put in with the ripe fruits.
  • The mangoes are submerged in hot water at around 115 degrees F. This kills the eggs and larvae of fruit flies and prevents them from attacking the fruits during transportation.
  • The mangoes are lifted out of the water, dried, and packed ready for transportation.

Unfortunately, if unripe mangoes have got into the mix, they may respond badly to the hot water, and this causes several different reactions, which we’ll explore in the next section. Although growers are generally good at determining when a mango is ripe and when it is unripe, there is still a degree of guesswork involved, and this means that sometimes unripe mangoes get picked. 

Why Does The Warm Water Cause White Spots?

Firstly, the heat of the water will encourage the mango to ripen more quickly, and for this, it usually tries to take in oxygen, which is part of the ripening process. The oxygen provides it with the energy necessary to ripen. This works fine when the mango is exposed to fresh air, but when it is underwater, it can’t do this. 

It starts to break down its tissues and ferment as a different means of generating energy, and this causes it to output carbon dioxide.

This carbon dioxide cannot easily escape from the mango, so it starts to become pressurized, and this causes little white holes in the soft flesh at the center of the fruit. The mango cannot effectively convert its starches into sugars (which it usually does when it ripens) and therefore it never ripens properly.

This means that mangoes with white spots are often lacking in flavor and texture because they can’t ripen properly. They are perfectly safe to eat, however, so you don’t need to worry about that factor. If you like, you can cut the white parts out, but even the rest of the flesh may not taste as good as a normal mango that was ripe when it was picked.

Why Don’t Mangoes With White Spots Taste Good?

Mangoes with white spots generally don’t have a great flavor because they haven’t been allowed to ripen properly. This means that instead of converting the starches in the fruit into sugars – which are what usually make the fruits sweet – the mango retains some of its starch and starts to ferment.

The white areas that surround the holes are the leftover starch. In a normal mango, this would have been converted to sugar and disappeared, but because of the imperfect ripening process, the starch remains in the fruit and stays white.

Without sugar, the mango will not have its sweet flavor. Even if most of the fruit has formed its sugars correctly, it still won’t taste as great as a mango that has ripened naturally before being picked. Although growers do try to avoid this occurring with their mangoes, it isn’t an exact science, and they can’t see what is going on inside the fruits.

Can You Prevent White Spots From Forming?

Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do at home to prevent the spots from forming – although it’s still a good idea to learn how to store mangoes correctly, so your fruits don’t go off.

You should keep mangoes in your fruit bowl at room temperature once you have bought them, and then transfer them to the fridge as soon as they are ripe. This will slow the ripening process down and prevent them from rotting. Aim to use them up within about 5 days of ripening. This will give you the best enjoyment from the fruit.

A mango that has formed white spots will have these before you have even bought it as these form when it is first picked and put into water. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell from the outside that your mango will have these blemishes, so you can’t avoid buying a mango that has them.

Fortunately, the white spots also won’t spread from one mango to another, so you don’t need to worry about it infecting any other fruits you have. Only an already affected mango will have them.

Conclusion

It is fairly common to find mangoes that have white spots, and they are perfectly safe for you to consume. The white spots are a result of the mango being underripe when it was put in warm water, and struggling to ripen in an unsuitable environment. Starches will remain in the fruit and it won’t taste as good, but it is still fine to consume.

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for over five years! I've set up this blog because I'm passionate about veganism and living a more spiritually fulfilling life where I'm more in tune with nature. Hopefully, I can use Vegan Foundry as a channel to help you out on your own journey!