If you have ever bitten into a mango and found that the flesh is stringy and chewy, rather than being soft and easy to bite through, you’ve probably felt pretty disappointed. Mangoes are delicious fruits that a lot of people enjoy eating, but sometimes, their texture is poor.
Often, stringiness in mangoes is caused by the mango not being quite ripe yet. Even if the color is good, the flesh will have more texture if it hasn’t finished ripening, which could lead to stringiness. In some cases, big mangoes will also be stringy, and some varieties may have more fibrous skin than others.
In this article, we’ll explore what makes mangoes stringy, and how you can select mangoes that are less likely to be stringy. We’ll also look at what you can do if your mango is too fibrous to be enjoyable.
What Makes Mangoes Stringy?
Most mangoes have soft, almost buttery flesh, which is one of the things that makes these fruits so popular. They are sweet, juicy, and easy to eat, and they don’t leave lots of bits in your mouth because their flesh is so tender and breaks so easily. However, some mangoes aren’t like that – and instead, they have a stringy texture. This usually happens if:
- The mango is larger than it should be and has formed longer chains inside its flesh
- The mango is underripe and still tough and chewy inside
- The variety of mango is one that tends to have tougher flesh
Any of these things can cause the problems with stringiness that mangoes sometimes suffer from, and fortunately, they are all things that you can control if you know what to look out for. You may not be able to get a perfect pick every time, but you should be able to minimize how many stringy mangoes you end up with if you learn what to look for.
It’s important to note that one variety of mango, in particular, is known for being stringy. This is the Tommy Atkins mango, which is a green variety often seen in US supermarkets. It is chosen because it stands up well to being shipped without getting bruised or damaged, but it does have tougher flesh.
Being aware of this and looking out for the name Tommy Atkins should help you to avoid this mango and make sure you aren’t picking it up if you dislike stringy mangoes. It’s a good idea to learn what the Tommy Atkins looks like, or find out what your local store carries before you go shopping for mangoes.
How Do You Choose Good Mangoes?
There are a few things that you should look out for when it comes to selecting a mango. The first thing to check is how ripe the fruit is. You can do this by gently squeezing it; the mango should give a little under your fingers, but it should still feel reasonably firm. If there is no give, the mango is still unripe.
It is hard to judge whether mangoes are ready just by looking at them because they come in all kinds of different colors. A bright red mango is not necessarily ready to eat, and a green one can be – so the squeeze test is important. Make sure you squeeze gently so you don’t damage the fruit.
You might also be able to test by smelling the mango. An unripe mango will have very little scent, if any, while a ripe mango will have a fruity smell, especially around the stem. Lift it to your nose and inhale gently, and this should help you to guess whether the mango is ripe.
You should also try to choose mangoes that are not too big, as small ones tend to be softer and have a better texture. Medium mangoes should be fine too, but really large ones are best avoided if you dislike stringy fruit. It might be tempting to pick the biggest, but try two smaller ones, rather than one large one!
How Do You Ripen A Mango?
If you’ve picked up an unripe mango by mistake and you’re worried about it being stringy, you can simply ripen it at home. You can either leave it in the fruit bowl for a few days until it starts to soften, or you can speed things along by placing it in a paper bag.
This traps ethylene gas around the mango, encouraging it to ripen more quickly. You can also add a banana or apple to the bag to increase the effect. Once ripe, the mango can then be transferred to the fridge until you are ready to eat it.
What Should You Do With A Stringy Mango?
If you’ve cut open a mango and discovered that it’s still stringy inside, you might not be sure what to do with it. It might rot before it has had time to ripen, but there’s no point in eating it if it has an unpleasant texture – so what are your other options?
The best option is to turn the mango into juice or a smoothie. Cut it into small pieces and add it to your blender along with some (plant) milk, (vegan) yogurt, fruit juice, and some other fruit. Blend the whole mixture thoroughly until it is smooth, and then chill it and enjoy.
This is one of the best ways to deal with fibrous mango because the blender will chop up the long strings and make them unnoticeable, so you don’t end up wasting the fruit. You can still make the most of its flavor and the goodness contained in it, without having to deal with all the fibers sticking in your throat and your teeth.
Most mangoes are not fibrous, but if you have cut into one that is not yet ripe, or if you’ve bought a very large mango, you might find that the flesh is pretty stringy. Try to avoid large or unripe mangoes, and also avoid Tommy Atkins mangoes, and you should be able to enjoy this fruit without any issues!