A delicious tropical fruit, it’s always nice to have a mango on hand for when you are craving a sweet, juicy snack. However, there’s nothing worse than cutting into a mango and realizing that it is too hard to eat. Fortunately, there are a few ways to tell if a mango is ripe or not before opening it up.

Feel

Perhaps the best way to check the ripeness of a mango is by feel and texture. You want your mango to be in the sweet spot between hard and mushy, and a perfectly ripe mango will give a little to the touch but won’t be overly soft.

An underripe mango will feel quite solid, while an overripe mango will have a wrinkly and mushy texture. A perfectly ripe mango will be slightly soft, giving in to gentle pressure, and have a smooth surface.

Smell

Another great way to check on the ripeness of a mango is by its smell. Ripe mangos will often give off a sweet aroma near their stem. However, if the mango doesn’t give off any scent, that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t ripe. In that case, you’ll want to pay close attention to the fruit’s feel and texture to determine whether or not it is ripe.

At any rate, if a mango gives off a sour or fermented smell, steer clear, as this is a sure sign that it is too ripe and is no longer suitable for consumption.

Color

Though color can be a telling sign for the ripeness of many fruits, such is not the case with mangos. Mangos vary in color, from green to yellow to orange and even pink, so relying on color to determine whether or not the fruit is ripe can be misleading. It’s best to focus on texture and scent when checking for a mango’s ripeness.

The Best Way to Ripen a Mango

If you have a mango that isn’t quite ripe and you are hoping to speed up the process, you can place it in a closed paper bag, which will trap the ethylene that the fruit releases and help it to ripen quicker.

Otherwise, just leave it on the counter and it should ripen within a few days. Never place a mango that you are hoping to ripen in the fridge, as this will slow down the ripening process significantly. However, if your mango is already ripe and you would like to store it, it is best stored in the fridge, where it will last a few days in an airtight container.

What to Do With a Ripe Mango

If you have a ripe mango on your hands, there are practically endless possibilities. You can cut it up and eat it alone, mix it into a fruit salad, blend it into a smoothie or mango lassi, or even make your own homemade mango sorbet. Get creative!

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