Mangos 101 – The Basics

If you haven’t tried a mango, let me personally invite you to venture into this delicious taste sensation. Ripe mangos are sweet, juicy, and delicious. They are similar to ripe peaches and can often be used interchangeably in recipes calling for peaches. Many people are not aware that you can also eat unripe mangos. The unripe fruit has a peppery flavor and can easily be used in savory dishes where a peppery flare is welcomed.

If you’re new to mangos, the information below should help you out. If you’re already familiar with mangos, yet are looking for something different to do with them, you’re in the right place! There is a LOT of information on what to do with mangos! I hope this helps!


Mangos 101 – The Basics

About Mangos
Mangos are a popular fruit around the world. Botanically, it’s a drupe, with an outer skin, an edible pulp, and a central stone that houses a single seed. Peaches and plums are also drupes. Mangos are fruits of an evergreen tree in the cashew family. There are over 1,000 different varieties of mangos, with some being round while others are oval.

Mangos were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago. From there, mangos were slowly introduced around the world. Spanish explorers brought mangos to South America and Mexico in the 1600s. Mangos were first introduced to America in 1833 when they were brought to Florida. In India, a basket of mangos is considered to be a sign of friendship, with the mango itself being a symbol of love.

Nutrition Tidbits
One cup of mango meets 100% of our recommended amount of Vitamin C and about a third that of Vitamin A. Mangos also supply fiber, folate, Vitamin B6, copper, Vitamin K and potassium. They have no cholesterol, sodium nor fat. One cup of mango has about 100 calories.

How to Choose a Mango
Color is not always the best indicator of ripeness with mangos. A ripe mango will give a little when squeezed, like a peach or avocado. A red color will appear on some varieties of ripe mangos, but not all. Also, a fruity aroma can be detected at the stem end of many (but not all) varieties of mangos. With all things considered, the squeeze test is the best way to determine if a mango is ripe.

Avoid mangos with bruises or shriveled skin. Those are past their prime and are not the best selections.

Unripe mangos are very edible, but are not sweet. They have somewhat of a peppery flavor and can be used in savory applications. Ripe mangos are deliciously sweet and are used in most recipes calling for mango as a sweet fruit.

How to Ripen and Store a Mango
Store unripe mangos at room temperature. Green mangos will ripen at room temperature over several days. To hasten ripening, place green mangos in a paper bag kept at room temperature.

To slow down the ripening process, store ripe mangos in the refrigerator for up to five days. Storing mangos too long in the refrigerator will cause them to turn black.

Peeled and cubed mango may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to six months.

How to Cut a Mango
First wash your mango. The peel will need to be removed as it can cause irritation in the mouth. The stone inside needs to be removed. It is large and somewhat flattened. Observe how the mango lays on your counter. It will position itself so the stone is parallel with the counter. Stand the mango up on the stem end and slice it parallel to the stone on each side of the stone. Then make narrow slices down the sides of the mango along the wide side of the stone. If your knife hits the stone in the process, simply move the knife outward just a bit and try again.

After removing the stone, with a knife cut away the peel, then slice or cube the mango as needed. Sometimes, the peel of very ripe mango slices can simply be peeled back with fingers and removed that way. The flesh of ripe mango can be very slippery to handle, so use caution when slicing it so you don’t cut yourself.

One large mango may yield up to two cups of mango cubes.

Important note! Mango juice can stain clothes, so take precaution when preparing it.

Serving Ideas
Mangos are usually eaten fresh, but there are some recipes available where creative individuals have incorporated them into baked goods, pies, mousses, curries, cobblers, and crisps (see recipe links below!). They may also be grilled or roasted.

Here are some quick ideas for including mango into your day:

* Serve mango cubes with your favorite yogurt.

* Make popsicles with pureed mango.

* Top pancakes or waffles with cut mango, then drizzle with maple syrup. Yum!

* Include mango in a breakfast smoothie.

* Drizzle pureed mango over cooked chicken, fish, or pork.

* Include cubed mango in a fruit or green salad.

* Mangos can be used in place of peaches in recipes.

* Add fresh ripe mango to a spinach salad.

* Top baked or grilled salmon with mango salsa.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Mangos
Basil, cardamom, cayenne, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, lavender, mint, oregano, paprika, parsley, salt, star anise, vanilla, vinegar

Foods That Go Well With Mango
Proteins, Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, beans, cashews, chicken, chickpeas, duck, fish, legumes, nuts, peanuts, pork, sesame, tempeh, tofu

Fruit: Avocado, banana, berries, coconut, kiwi, lemon, lime, melon, nectarines, orange, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, pears, pineapple, plantains, tamarind, tropical fruits

Vegetables: Arugula, bell peppers, chayote squash, chiles, corn, cucumbers, fennel, jalapenos, jicama, lettuce, red onions, rhubarb, scallions, seaweed, shallots, snow peas, tomatillos, tomatoes

Grains: Corn, noodles (esp. Asian), quinoa, rice, tortillas

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Almond milk, coconut milk, cream, ice cream, yogurt

Other: Honey, rum, sugar, tapioca, wine

Suggested Flavor Combos:
Mango + avocado + chiles + cilantro + lime + onions + vinegar
Mango + bananas + honey + lime juice + orange juice
Mango + beans + cilantro + lime + onions
Mango + bell peppers + cilantro + lime
Mango + cardamom + honey + yogurt
Mango + chiles + cilantro + lime + red onions
Mango + chiles + cumin + garlic + lime + orange
Mango + coconut milk + sticky rice
Mango + honey + mint + yogurt
Mango + honey + orange juice + yogurt
Mango + lime + mint + orange + papaya
Mango + lime + raspberries + vanilla
Mango + peach + raspberries

Types of dishes and cuisines that mangos are often included in:
Beverages, chutneys, coulis (a thin sauce), crepes, curry, desserts (ie. Cheesecake), Indian cuisine, lassis (a sweet or savory Indian beverage), Mexican cuisine, puddings, salads, sauces, smoothies, soups (ie fruit soup), stir-fries, tarts

Recipe Links
Jicama Mango Carrot Salad

25 Mango Recipes You Need to Try

Easy Mango Banana Smoothie

Quick Mango Salsa

Too Many Mangos? Ideas to Help You Use Them

5 Easy Mango Recipe Ideas

Chicken Mango Curry

Mango Smoothie

Mango Salsa

All-Purpose Mango Salsa

Mango Protein Smoothie

Mango Quinoa Salad

Mango Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tropical Mango Sorbet

Baja Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

Check out the MANY recipes listed under the “Recipes” tab on this comprehensive site

Mango Pico De Gallo

Roasted Mango

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

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