Mangoes 101

Mangoes come in a rainbow of colours and a variety of shapes.
Whether its yellow, orange, green or a blush red, one thing is for sure they will be sweet and juicy!

What to look for when selecting:
You know a mango is ripe when it gives slightly when squeezed, it will also smell sweet and be very aromatic. Avoid mangoes that have very shrivelled, cracked or bruised skin. A little bit of sticky liquid leaking out of the stem indicates that the mango has a high level of natural sugar.

How to store:
Unripe mangoes should be left to ripen at room temperature. Once perfectly ripe, mangoes can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

How to prepare:
Mangoes should be eaten peeled, as their skin may be irritating to the mouth. Mangoes are a bit tricky to slice since they have a huge oval seed in the middle. First, youll want to rinse the fruit, then stand the mango upright on your cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, slice through the fruit on one of the wider sides (about a half inch from the centre). Its also called the cheek of the mango. If your knife hits the seed, move your knife over a bit more. Once you have cut out the cheek, you can remove the flesh form the peel in a variety of ways: store the flesh and turn inside out, or use the rim of a drinking glass.

Varieties:
There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes, below are 5 of the most common varieties sold in Canada and the United States.

Ataulfos have a vibrant yellow flesh that is smooth and firm with no fibres. They are small and flattened oval shaped. They have a very small seed and have a sweet flavour and a luscious, creamy texture when ripe. Youll know its ripe when the skin turns to a deep golden colour and small wrinkles appear. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.

Tommy Atkins have a dark red blush, which often covers much of the fruit with green and orange yellow accents. They are normally medium to large in size, with oval or oblong shape. The flesh of the fruit is firm due to fibres throughout (keep dental floss on hand). They are mild and sweet in flavour, their sent is not pungent. Ripening cues this mango does not change colour as it ripens, so it may not provide any visual cues. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.

Kent dark green in colour and often has a dark red blush over a small portion of the mango, and yellow undertones. Long and oval in shape. Sweet and rich in flavour. Juicy, tender flesh with limited fibres. Kent mangoes are ripe and ready to eat when green. Kents have a yellow undertone or dots that spread over the surface of the mango as they ripen. Squeeze gently and smell to judge ripeness.

Keitt- dark to medium green, sometimes with a pink blush over a small portion of the mango, and is large and oval in shape. Keitts have a sweet and fruity flavour and have a firm, juicy flesh with limited fibres. Keitts skin stays green even when ripe. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness. This is the perfect mango for green mango salad!

Hadens- A bright red mango with green and yellow overtones. Very sweet, rich flavour with aromatic overtones and firm, fibrous flesh. They range in size from medium to large and have an oval to round shape. This variety changes colour as it ripens. The green area of the mango will turn to yellow as it ripens. Judge how ripe it is by squeezing the mango gently in the palm of your hand.

Tips:
- Dont judge a mango by its colour - red does not mean ripe and green does not mean un-ripe!
- A ripe mango will give slightly when gently squeezed in your palm. A firm mango will ripen at room temperature over a few days.
- Store mangoes on the counter out of direct sunlight
- Place mangoes in a paper bag to accelerate ripening. Paper bags lock in the ethylene gas that the mango naturally releases, which will quicken the ripening process.
- Once ripe, mangos can be moved to the fridge to slow down the ripening process, but will only keep for a few more days.
- Did you know that mangoes are the top selling fruit in the world?