Mangoes are one of the sweetest, yummiest tropical fruits there is. I love them as a snack, as a dessert topping, as a smoothie… the list goes on and on. So whenever they’re in season, I stock up on as many as I can!
The only problem is its shelf-life. At room temperature, mangoes only last for up to 7 days. And as much as I’d like to, I can’t eat or use all of them before then.
Fortunately, there are a number of different ways you can store these tropical fruits so they stay fresh longer. In fact, if you decide to freeze your mangoes, they can last up to 12 months! They last for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator.
The shelf life of a mango depends on a variety of factors: when they were picked, how they’re handled, and how they’re stored.
But it all starts with choosing the right mango!
Choosing the Best Mangoes
The best mangoes are heavy for their size, so that’s the first thing you need to check. You also want plump mangoes, not flat ones.
If you want to get ripe mangoes, give them a little squeeze. The softer the fruit, the riper it is. You don’t want to get a super squishy mango, though. Pick ones that have a nice balance between firmness and softness.
Check for the smell, too. Ripe mangoes have a sweet scent right at the stem-end.
You can also sometimes tell by the color of the fruit. If it’s more green than yellow, then it’s not ripe yet. If it’s yellow and reddish, then they’re more likely ripe.
But, for some varieties, the color is not always the best sign of ripeness. So, it’s still best to check by feel.
How to Store Mangoes
Proper storage of mangoes depends on whether they are ripe or unripe.
Store unripe mangoes at room temperature to allow them to ripen. Place them in plastic bags or jars with airflow to keep it safe from pests. Unripe mangoes will take up to 8 days to ripen, but this depends on what stage they are in the process.
If you want to speed up the ripening process, here’s a tip: place the mangoes in a paper bag. This causes the mangoes to release ethylene, an odorless gas that speeds up the ripening process. Pretty cool!
Should Mangoes Be Refrigerated?
Yes – but only once they have ripened. Refrigerating mangoes will stop the ripening process, so you don’t want to store unripe mangoes in there just yet. You want to give them a sweet time at room temperature to sweeten!
You may either refrigerate the mangoes with or without the peel – totally your call. If unpeeled, slice them into chunks and store them in an airtight container before you refrigerate.
How Long Will Mangoes Last in the Refrigerator?
Mangoes will last for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. If you want to keep them around longer, though, don’t worry, there are ways to do that!
Can You Freeze Mangoes?
If you want to extend your mangoes’ shelf-life, you have to freeze them. Granted, they will be mushy when thawed, but they will still keep that lovely sweet flavor.
So, while they may not be the best to eat as is, you can still use them as an ingredient when cooking, baking, or making smoothies and shakes.
There are several methods to freeze mangoes, depending on how you plan to use them and how long you want to keep them around.
But, before all that, here’s one important thing you need to remember: your mangoes have to be ripe before you freeze them. Go back to the first section for tips on how to check for ripeness.
Okay, now that you’ve got that taken care of, it’s time to freeze. Today I’ll show you 3 ways to freeze your mangoes: flash-freezing, freezing in simple syrup, and pureeing.
Flash Freeze Method
If you want to keep your mangoes around for up to 10 months, flash freezing is your best option. Here’s how:
- Peel the fruit and slice into chunks, cubes, strips, or however you want them – just consider how you plan on using it once defrosted.
- Transfer the mango slices onto a baking sheet. Be careful not to let each slice touch each other. Trust me, it’s super tough, almost impossible, to break them apart once they’re frozen.
- Pop the sheet in the freezer, making sure it stays secure on a flat surface.
- Freeze the mangoes for 3-5 hours or overnight.
- Once the mangoes have frozen, transfer them into a freezer-safe bag.
- Label the bag so you’ll know how much time it has left.
Simple Syrup Method
If you plan to use your mangoes to make purees, sauces, or salads, the best way to freeze them is by coating them in simple syrup. With this method, your mangoes will keep well for up to a year.
- In a medium pot, combine 1 cup of sugar with 2 cups of water. Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Set aside to allow it to cool.
- Peel and slice the mangoes into cubes. Transfer them into a freezer-safe container.
- Once the syrup has cooled, pour it over the mangoes, leaving at least an inch of headspace for expansion.
This method is best when you’ve got some mango leftovers. This is also perfect if you know you’ll be using the fruit in puree form in the future.
- Slice the leftover mangoes into small chunks and transfer them into a blender.
- Puree until smooth (or just until it reaches your desired consistency).
- Transfer the puree into freezer-safe containers. When picking a container, consider how you plan on using the puree. For instance, if you’ll use them to make a glass of shake or smoothie, why not pour them into ice cube trays so you can easily get individual serving sizes easily?
- Label the containers and freeze.
How To Defrost Frozen Mangoes
Just as there are several ways you can freeze mangoes, you also have different options on how to thaw them.
Pop them in the fridge overnight. This is the best way to defrost mangoes or any frozen food for that matter. The only drawback is that it takes a while to thaw.
So, if you are in a rush, dump the container into a bowl of cold water, and let it sit for 3 to 4 hours. The larger the amount, the longer it is to thaw.
But, if you are using the fruit for cooking or making smoothies, you need not defrost it anymore. Just throw it into the pot or blender as is. For cooking, just add a few extra minutes of time to help the mangoes thaw. For making smoothies, use less ice than usual.
How to Keep Mangoes Fresh Longer
The best way to keep your mangoes fresh for a maximum period is to keep the temperature of your fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Do You Know If a Mango Has Gone Bad?
No matter how hard we try to prolong a mango’s life, everything must come to an end. To know if your mangoes are still safe for eating by watching out for these three signs:
- If the skin has turned black,
- it is way too mushy, and
- it produces a sour smell,
… it’s time to toss them in the trash.
But wait, if the mangoes are merely over ripe, you can still salvage them! If all you see is discoloration in certain areas, don’t throw them out just yet. Sure, you can no longer eat them as is, or use them as a cake or dessert topping, but you can still use them to make smoothies or daiquiris or mango popsicles!