Mangoes are among the varieties of fruit that continue to ripen after picking them. Unripe mangoes produce their own ethylene gas that helps them to ripen. This ethylene gas can be used to quicken the ripening process to reach that beautiful golden yellow color sooner. Thus it is common for commercial growers to pick unripe mangoes and ripen them off of mango trees. We’ll go over how this process works and the best time to pick mango fruits from mango trees. With this knowledge, you’ll be enjoying this tropical fruit in no time.
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When Should Mangoes be Picked?
It’s best to pick mango fruits when they’re firm but not yet ripe. Use gentle pressure from your palm to test the firmness. Firm fruit can have some light give but will be mostly resistant to pressure. Fresh mangoes should not feel as hard as rocks though. That would mean they are too underripe.
- Pick your mangoes during mango season (May–September).
- June and July are typically the prime months to pick mangoes.
- Choose fruits that are still green and firm so you can ripen them.
Mangoes should still be green when picked but have healthy skin. Wait until they are full-sized. Mango season is May through September, but the ideal time to pick mangoes is in June and July.
How Do You Ripen a Mango Quickly?
You can ripen mangoes more quickly by putting them in a brown paper bag overnight. Alternatively, place the mangoes in a bowl and cover them with uncooked rice or unpopped popcorn kernels.
- Use the paper bag method to ripen your mangoes quickly.
- A bowl of rice or unpopped popcorn kernels will help ripen mangoes too.
Do not use an airtight container to ripen your fruit. Raw mangoes need fresh air for the ripening process to occur. A true airtight container will slow the process of ripening down. This is why brown paper bags are the most common container used in this process.
Why Do Mangoes Ripen Faster in a Paper Bag?
Mangoes ripen faster when placed in a brown paper bag because the bag traps the ethylene gas that mangoes release. When a mango is exposed to more ethylene gas, it ripens faster. So, higher quantities of this gas will speed up the ripening process. You want to trap as much ethylene gas near your mangoes as possible without making an airtight seal. A completely airtight container will slow down the ripening process. A brown paper bag with the top rolled down provides the perfect environment for fast ripening.
- Mangoes produce ethylene gas which helps the fruit to ripen.
- The more ethylene gas you trap near the fruit, the faster the mangoes ripen.
- Do not use an airtight container though. Airtight containers will inhibit ripening.
You can tell how ripe your mango is by checking the skin and feeling the firmness. Fully firm fruit is not yet ready. You want a mango to have some give when you apply soft pressure. A fresh mango should have about the same firmness as a fresh avocado.
How to Ripen Mangoes with Bananas
If you really want to speed up your mango ripening process, place a banana in the bag with the mango. Bananas also release ethylene gas as they ripen, so you’ll create a more ethylene-rich environment by putting both fruits together.
- Bananas produce ethylene gas too and more gas will speed up the ripening process.
- Other ethylene gas producing fruits include apples, apricots, and pears.
You’ll get the same fast-ripening effect by putting more than one mango in the same bag. Apples, apricots, and pears are also big producers of ethylene gas. Storing any of these fruits in a paper bag together will help ripen your mangoes.
Do Mangoes Ripen After They’ve Been Cut?
A mango with a small cut will continue to ripen. Just wrap the mango in plastic to prevent rot as you leave it at room temperature to ripen. As long as your mango is not in pieces, the ripening process can continue.
- Small cuts will not hamper the ripening process.
- The ripening process ends when the fruit is fully chopped though.
However, your mango needs to be whole or mostly whole to continue ripening. Once it is sliced, diced, or chopped, the mango will be “dead” and begin decaying. Make sure your fruit is ripe before you cut up some slices of mango to serve.
What Color is a Ripe Mango?
Ripe mangoes are well known for their reddish-orange spots. But color is not actually the best indicator of ripeness. Sometimes ripe mangoes are still entirely green.
- Ripe mangoes are usually known for their golden-red color.
- A green mango may actually be ripe.
- Test your mango’s ripeness by touch and smell.
It’s best to test a mango by smell and feel to determine if it’s ripe. A sweet, fruity smell and slightly soft feel mean the fruit is ripe. Test your mangoes once a day to make sure you have fresh fruit before eating.
How Long Does it Take for a Mango to Ripen on the Tree?
It can take up to 5 months for a mango to ripen on the tree. This makes mangoes a fairly slow-ripening fruit. From blossom to ripening on a tree, it can take anywhere from 100 to 150 days.
- Mangoes need up to 5 months to ripen on the tree.
- This slow ripening time is one reason people try to speed up the process.
This slow ripening period is one of the reasons it’s common to speed up the process of ripening. Having to wait 5 months of time to eat some delicious slices of mango can be frustrating. Ripening the mangoes off the tree can speed up ripening time by weeks.
Can You Ripen Mangoes After Picking?
Pretty much all mango varieties can be ripened after picking with a few simple tricks. Here is a brief overview of the various mango-ripening topics we’ve discussed here:
- Picked mangoes ripen because of the ethylene gas they produce.
- Make sure your green mangoes are firm before they are picked.
- Use a bowl of rice or sealed paper bag to help ripen your mangoes after picking.
- Ethylene gas producing fruits like bananas and apples can help mangoes ripen.
- Green mangoes can be ripe.
- Test ripeness by touch and feel. A ripe mango should have as much give as a ripe avocado.
- Mangoes take up to 5 months to ripen on the tree.
Keep an eye on your green mangoes and pick them once they are firm. Use breathable containers to trap ethylene gas to speed up the ripening process. You can shave a lot of time off of the ripening process by using the paper bag method.