Can I eat my mango if it’s green?

Quick Answer

It’s best to wait until a mango ripens and turns yellow, orange, or red before eating it. Green mangoes are unripe and can be hard to digest due to their high starch content. However, green mangoes can still be eaten in some cases.

What Does a Green Mango Taste Like?

Green mangoes have a starchier, crunchier texture and taste more sour and astringent than ripe mangoes. The sour, tangy taste is due to higher levels of citric and other organic acids in unripe mangoes.

As mangoes ripen, starch converts to sugars, making ripe mangoes sweeter with a rich, creamy taste. Ripe mangoes contain higher levels of beta-carotene, the antioxidant responsible for their yellow-orange hues.

Green Mango Flavor

  • Starchy, crunchy texture
  • Sour, tangy, tart
  • Minimal sweetness
  • Astringent, mouth-puckering

Ripe Mango Flavor

  • Soft, tender, juicy flesh
  • Sweet, rich, creamy
  • Complex fruity flavor
  • Well-balanced sweetness and acidity

Is It Safe to Eat Green Mangoes?

Green mangoes contain higher amounts of raphides – needle-like crystals of insoluble calcium oxalate that can irritate the mouth and throat.

Raphides give the tangy, acidic taste to green mangoes. As mangoes ripen, raphide levels fall, lessening irritation and giving a richer, sweeter flavor.

For most people, green mangoes are safe to eat in moderation, though they may cause minor mouth and throat irritation. However, those with latex allergies should avoid unripe mangoes due to cross-reactivity with the fruit.

Raphides can also aggravate existing gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome. Consult a doctor before eating green mangoes with a known medical condition.

Potential Side Effects of Green Mangoes

  • Mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal irritation
  • Canker sores
  • Allergic reaction in those with latex sensitivity
  • Intestinal gas and bloating
  • Aggravated symptoms of IBS

Nutritional Profile of Green vs Ripe Mangoes

Though less sweet, green mangoes contain starch and other nutrients that provide health benefits:

Green Mangoes

  • Higher starch content
  • More dietary fiber for digestion
  • Rich in pectin, a soluble fiber
  • More vitamin C for immunity
  • Good source of vitamin A
  • More minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium

Ripe Mangoes

  • Higher sugar content
  • More antioxidants like beta-carotene
  • Rich in vitamin A for eyes and skin
  • More vitamin C for immune function
  • Good source of vitamin B6
  • High in disease-fighting flavonoids

Both contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, though in differing amounts. Enjoy mangoes at all stages of ripeness to get the full nutritional benefits.

Ways to Eat Green Mangoes

Green mangoes have a notoriously sour taste that’s hard for many to appreciate straight off the tree. But they can be eaten raw and cooked in dishes that balance and mellow their sharp flavor.

Raw Green Mango

  • Slice into green mango salad with salt, chili, and lime
  • Make green mango chutney by cooking with spices and sweeteners
  • Dice and add to salsa for a tangy kick
  • Sprinkle cut mangoes with chaat masala spice blend
  • Pickle green mango in mustard oil and spices

Cooked Green Mango

  • Saute slices in coconut curry until tender
  • Puree into green mango smoothies with yogurt or milk
  • Simmer chunks in chicken stew for tartness
  • Bake into tarts or crisps with sugar and lime zest
  • Cook into jams, compotes, and preserves

Balancing green mango’s sourness allows its nutritious starch and fiber to shine.

How to Tell if a Green Mango is Ripe

It can be tricky to judge the ripeness of a green mango. Here are some tips:

  • Lift – Ripe green mangoes feel slightly heavier for their size
  • Press – There should be slight give when squeezing without being squishy
  • Sniff – A fresh, sweet mango aroma means it’s ripe
  • Look for yellow blush – Green skin starting to lighten in areas indicates ripeness
  • Check the stem – Browning, withering stems signal ripeness

A few other signs a green mango is ripe and ready to eat:

  • Smooth, unwrinkled skin
  • Absence of dark spots or blemishes
  • Firm flesh that resists indentation

With experience and practice, it becomes easier to pick a perfectly ripe green mango.

How to Ripen a Green Mango Faster

You can ripen an unripe green mango at home with these handy tricks:

Leave at Room Temperature

Keep green mangoes out on the counter to ripen faster. The warmth and air circulation will speed up the ripening process from a week down to 2-4 days.

Place in a Paper Bag

The paper bag traps ethylene gas emitted by the mango, which triggers ripening. Poke holes for ventilation and check daily until ripe.

Add a Ripe Fruit

Place green mangoes in a bag or box with ripe bananas, apples, or tomatoes, which give off more ethylene.

Use Rice

Bury unripe mangoes in uncooked rice for 1-2 days. The rice absorbs excess moisture that slows down ripening.

Sit in the Sun

Sunlight warmth for a few hours daily will nudge a green mango closer to ripe sweetness. Just avoid direct sun to prevent overheating.

Patience yields the best flavor, but these tricks can help enjoy a green mango when you need it sooner. Monitor closely and stop ripening once desired softness is reached.

How to Store Ripe and Unripe Mangoes

Proper storage preserves fresh, delicious mangoes:

Unripe Green Mangoes

  • Store at room temperature to continue ripening
  • Once ripening begins, refrigerate to slow process
  • Unwashed, in breathable bag in crisper drawer
  • Can be ripened later up to 2 weeks

Ripe Mangoes

  • Refrigerate ripe mangoes immediately
  • Unwashed, in airtight container or bag
  • Keep for 5-7 days
  • Let come to room temperature before eating for best flavor

Proper storage preserves texture, flavor, and nutrients in mangoes at all stages of ripeness. Refrigeration is key once ripe and ready to eat.

Common Types of Mangoes

Hundreds of mango cultivars exist, with varying sizes, flavors, and ripening seasons:

Mango Type Characteristics
Ataulfo Small, oval, yellow skin. Soft, creamy, very sweet flesh.
Francis Medium-small, bright yellow. Rich, tangy tropical flavor.
Kent Medium-large with green skin ripening to golden. Sweet, juicy flesh.
Keitt Very large, with pale green skin. Mild, creamy flavor.
Tommy Atkins Large, oval, thick dark red skin. Mildly sweet, firm flesh.
Haden Medium, with red and yellow skin. Rich, buttery, fiberless flesh.

Popular varieties like Honey, Alphonso, Kesar, and Manila are prized for their exceptional sweetness. Try different types to find your perfect mango!

Mango Substitutes

When fresh mangoes are out of season, try these fruits with similar sweet-tart flavors and textures:

  • Peaches
  • Papayas
  • Apricots
  • Guavas
  • Persimmons
  • Pineapples
  • Cantaloupe or honeydew melons

For cooked dishes, grilled, roasted, or sauteed stone fruits like peaches also work well. Canned mangoes make an acceptable substitute when fresh aren’t available.

In smoothies and chutneys, mashed banana or pineapple gives a similar sweet creaminess. Frozen mango chunks are great for blending into smoothies for mango flavor any time of year.


Green mangoes provide unique health benefits, but an unripe tangy taste that puts some people off. With proper ripening, storage, and cooking methods, green mangoes can become an exciting addition to the diet. Or enjoy mangoes ripe and ready-to-eat for their gloriously juicy tropical flavor. Either way, mangoes offer versatility and nutrition from the first hints of green to fully blushing gold.

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