How to tell if mangos are ripe?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How to tell if mangos are ripe?” and will discuss some methods to check the ripeness of mango.

How to tell if mangos are ripe?

The mango is mushy if it is ripe enough to eat. The skin of the mango gives somewhat when gently pressed with your fingertips or the ball of your hand, and a dent forms. Before consuming hard fruit, let it sit for a bit.

During ripening, mangoes (Mangifera indica L.) go through changes, particularly the development of color, volatiles, sensory properties and texture (1).

Methods to detect the mango ripeness

Check  by Appearance

 Notice the shape

Aspherical or football form is preferred over a flat look for most mango species. However, there are certain distinctions amongst mango cultivars that are worth noting (2, 3).

·         When mature, the Ataulfo mango has a slightly flattened oval form. In addition, this kind is generally relatively tiny. It is also called Honey and is harvested in Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.

·         When mature, the Francis mango is rectangular with a little s-shape. Harvest in Haiti and Ecuador.

·         The form of the Haden mango ranges from circular to oval. The size of this type is generally medium to huge (300g to 700g).

·         The Keitt mango comes in a huge, oval form. Harvested in Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil and the United States.

·         Another huge, oval-shaped mango type is the Kent mango. It is large in size (500 to 800 g) and oval orbicular shape (2)

·         The form of the Tommy Atkins mango is oval or oblong. This type is normally medium to big. It is large in size (600 g),oval in shape (2).

·         The form of the Alphonse mango is oblong, it is an Indian variety.

·         The Edward mango comes in a variety of forms, including round and oblong. It weighs around 600 g.

·         The Kesar mango is typically spherical and also an Indian variety.

·         The Manila mango has a slim and narrow look and is fiber free.

·         The Palmer mango is oblong and smaller (about 200g).

Examine the area surrounding the stem.

The flesh and skin around the stem should be particularly lush and spherical. The stem end of the mango will be pretty flat before it ripens. The pulp, fluids, and sugars contained inside the fruit have not yet fully formed. When the mango is fully developed and ripe, the interior should be so plump that the stem end rises slightly rather than staying flat.

Fruit softening during ripening is primarily due to in vivo carbohydrate hydrolysis or depolymerization. If the tissue around the stem is dark-brown, it is a sign of a disease caused by pathogens called stem end rot. At the early ripening stage, the symptoms appear as a small dark-brown to black spot at the fruit stem-end. In advanced stages of ripening, stem end rot progresses to decay, resulting in fruit discoloration, brown flesh, and fruit softening (4).

Don’t get too caught up with the color.

During fruit ripening, green color pigment (chlorophyll) present in the peel starts to degrade and synthesis of red and yellow color pigments like anthocyanins and carotenoids takes place. Ripening of mango leads to external (peel) and internal (pulp) color change. These changes play a major role in mango pack houses and pulping industries while grading and selecting the fruits based on ripening level. In mango pack houses, the ripeness level and quality is decided by external (peel) color, and in the pulping industry, the pulp color is important for optimizing the quality of products such as puree, juice and leather (5). 

A mango’s red tint is usually an indicator of how much sun exposure it has had, not of its freshness. In addition, the hue of a ripe mango varies depending on the type. Whether you want to utilize color as a backup signal to see if a mango is ripe, you must first grasp how specific types are meant to appear once ripe.

·         When the Ataulfo mango is fully ripe, it assumes a rich golden hue.

·         When mature, the Francis mango will be a mix of green and gold. The golden skin’s green hue disappears, eventually becoming gold. It should be noted, however, that some green will remain.

·         When the Haden mango is fully mature, it changes color from green to yellow. Although this cultivar is more prone to reddening, it does not have to be red to be ripe.

·         Even when fully ripe, the Keitt mango retains its green color.

·         When the Kent mango ripens, it will be predominantly dark green, but it will frequently have yellow overtones or yellow spots on different parts of the mango. It has a yellow-orange epicarp with reddish color when ripe.

·         The Tommy Atkins mango has very few visual indications. The skin might stay yellow-green, become golden, or flush darkly.

·         Once mature, the Alphonse mango’s skin turns purple to yellow.

·         The skin of the Edward mango may be pink, yellow, or a combination of the two colors.

·         When mature, the Kesar mango might stay green, although it usually turns yellow.

·         When ripe, the Manila mango’s skin becomes an orange-yellow color, although it may also turn pink.

·         Palmer mangoes come in a variety of colors, including purple, red, yellow, and a combination of the three.

Take note of any spots.

·         While this isn’t always a clear sign, if a mango’s skin has acquired a few brown spots or specks, it’s probably ripe.

·         However, depending on the kind, a mango without speckles may still be ripe. Spots should not be used as your only source of information.

·         Yellow dots may appear instead of brown spots on certain mango cultivars, such as the Kent mango.

Spots in the skin may also be a sign of microbial deterioration. It is common that the spots rise in the stem region. The plant stem is populated with various species of microorganisms, including fungi, yeast and bacteria, most of which are not  pathogenic. These microorganisms can live in symbiosis or mutualism with the plant. However, they can colonize the plant internally (4).

Check by smell

Choose a mango with a pleasant aroma

·         Get a nice sniff of the mango just around the stem. There’s a high probability the fruit has completely ripened if it has a distinct fruity, pleasant fragrance.

·         Smell the mango towards the end of the stalk. The odor will be greatest there, and you’ll get a better sense of how the fruit smells in real life.

·         The aroma should be similar to that of a mango. Taste and smell are inextricably related, and how something smells has a significant influence on how it tastes.

The formation of mango volatiles shows large dependency upon the maturation and ripening process. The increase in the respiration rate during the ripening is coupled to the ethylene biosynthesis as a degradation product of methionine. The ethylene, acting as a phytohormone to the plant, triggers an autocatalytic process in the fruit that leads to the expression of several genes as well as the up-regulation of a number of enzymes that are of importance for the formation of volatile compounds (1).

Mango with a sour or alcoholic aroma should be avoided.

If you inhale the mango near its stem and detect a strong bitter aroma, the mango has over ripened and is beginning to decompose.

When compared to other fruits, the mango has extremely high sugar content. These fruits will begin to spontaneously ferment as they begin to go rotten. This accounts for the sour, alcoholic aroma. However, it also signifies that the mango has become much too ripe. It will most likely have the same sour flavor as it smells.

Alcohols make part of the many chemical compounds responsible for the characteristic and complex aroma of mangoes. During the fruit ripening process, carbonyl compounds and alcohols are formed via the lipoxygenase pathway upon oxidative breakdown of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linolenic acid with hydroperoxides as intermediates. Excessive alcohol aroma may indicate overripe of the fruit (1).

Check by Touch

Squeeze the mango gently.  

Textural softening in fleshy fruit is primarily due to cell wall modification resulting in structural changes in starch and non-starch polysaccharides. Pectolytic enzymes such as polygalacturonase, pectin methylesterase and galactosidase are involved in decreasing pectin molecular weight with concomitant loss of neutral sugars such as arabinose and galactose, which together are correlated with softening of several mango cultivars (6).

·         You should feel the flesh “give” or indent a bit when you apply gentle pressure to the sides of the mango. A ripe mango has a delicate texture .

·         A mango that doesn’t yield to pressure or feels as hard as a rock isn’t yet ready to eat.

·         The mango should not be squishy. The mango is overripe if your fingers puncture it when you apply a modest amount of pressure.

·         Instead of pressing with your fingers, use your palm to prevent accidentally damaging the fruit. In the palm of your hand, place the mango. Close your hand around the fruit and push the ball of your palm against it.

Feel the surface of the skin.

·         Rub your fingers lightly over the mango’s surface. A ripe mango will almost always have a few creases on its skin.

·         The lack of creases, on the other hand, does not always indicate that the mango is unripe.

·         The mango is overripe if deep creases cover a considerable amount of the surface.

·         The creases that appear on the Ataulfo mango as it ripens are well-known. Others may acquire light creases that are difficult to notice, while others may remain smooth long after they have ripened.

Consider the weight.

Take the mango in your palm and feel its weight. A mature mango will feel somewhat heavier than an unripe mango, despite its smaller size.

Compare the weight of a possibly ripe mango to the weight of an unripe mango if you need a better weight guideline. If the second mango is ripe, the unripe mango should feel noticeably lighter than the ripe mango, particularly if the mangoes are of equal size and type. If the weights of the two mangos are too close, the second one is probably immature as well.

Other FAQs about Mango that you may be interested in.

How to preserve mangoes

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mangoes?

Can you eat green mango?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How to tell if mangos are ripe?” and discussed some methods to check the ripeness of mango.

References

  1. Lehner, Thomas B., and Barbara Siegmund. The impact of ventilation during postharvest ripening on the development of flavour compounds and sensory quality of mangoes (Mangifera indica L.) cv. Kent. Food Chem, 2020, 320, 126608.
  2. Coral, Lady Laura Tuisima, and Hector Alonso Escobar-Garcia. Characterization of fruits of varieties of mango (Mangifera indica) conserved in Peru. Rev Bras Frutic, 2021, 43.  
  3. Mango varieties and availability. Mango.org. 2021.
  4. Galsurker, Ortal, et al. Fruit stem-end rot. Horticulturae, 2018, 4, 50.
  5. Nambi, Vijayram Eyarkai, et al. Color kinetics during ripening of Indian mangoes. Int J Food Prop, 2016, 19, 2147-2155.
  6. Yashoda, Hosakote M., Tyakal N. Prabha, and Rudrapatnam N. Tharanathan. Mango ripening: changes in cell wall constituents in relation to textural softening. J Sci Food Agric, 2006, 86, 713-721.