What to do if you cut an unripe mango?

Cutting into an unripe mango can be disappointing. The hard, sour flesh lacks the sweetness and soft texture of a perfectly ripe mango. While you may be tempted to toss the unripe fruit in the trash, there are actually several ways to rescue it and make it more enjoyable to eat.

Can you eat unripe mangoes?

Yes, you can eat unripe mangoes, but they will be hard and sour. An unripe mango contains starch rather than sugars. As the mango ripens, the starch converts to sugars, making the flesh soft and sweet. Eating a firm, tart unripe mango raw is an unappealing experience for most people.

What happens if you eat an unripe mango?

Nothing harmful will happen if you eat an unripe mango, but you likely won’t enjoy the taste or texture. An extremely unripe mango may also cause some digestive upset due to the high starch and acid content.

Will an unripe mango ripen after cutting?

Yes, an unripe mango will continue ripening after it’s been cut. The flesh near the seed will ripen first, so you may end up with uneven softness. Leaving the cut mango at room temperature will allow the ripening process to finish. The ripped flesh will become sweeter and softer within a couple days.

How to tell if a mango is unripe

There are a few signs that indicate a mango is not yet ripe:

  • Green skin with no yellow/orange/red color
  • Hard flesh that does not give when gently squeezed
  • Lack of fruity aroma
  • Starchy, sour taste when sampled

Methods for using an unripe mango

While raw unripe mango is unappealing, there are ways to make it more palatable:

Cook it

Cooking an unripe mango helps soften the flesh and intensifies the flavor. Mangoes are delicious grilled, baked, sautéed, or added to chutneys. The heat breaks down the starch and brings out the natural sweetness.

Blend it

Pureeing an unripe mango into a smoothie or blender drink makes it easier to consume. Other fruits, yogurt, milk, or juice can help balance out the tartness. A touch of honey, maple syrup, or sugar brings extra sweetness.

Pickle it

Unripe green mangoes are commonly pickled in South Asian cuisine. Pickling the sour fruit in salty, spicy brine tenderizes it and adds loads of flavor. Pickled green mango is delicious as a condiment or snack.

Make mango chutney

Chutneys are thick condiments made by cooking fruit or vegetables with vinegar, sugar, and spices. The sweet, tangy, and spicy elements of chutney pair excellently with unripe mango. Cook the chopped mango into a syrupy chutney.

Marinate meat in it

Unripe mango can be used to tenderize and flavor meat before cooking. Grind or puree the mango into a marinade along with other ingredients like vinegar, garlic, ginger, chili, and spices. Let the meat soak up the marinade before grilling, baking, or sautéing.

Tips for ripening a cut mango

While cut mangoes will continue ripening on their own, here are some tips to speed up the process and ripen the flesh evenly:

  • Leave cut mango at room temperature. Don’t refrigerate.
  • Place mango in a paper bag or perforated plastic bag. This traps ethylene gas and accelerates ripening.
  • Add a ripe banana, apple, or tomato to the bag. These fruits give off ethylene that ripens the mango.
  • Sprinkle the mango with lime or lemon juice. The acid helps break down starch.
  • Cover tightly and let sit 1-3 days until softened and sweetened.

How to tell when a cut mango has ripened

Check for these signs to know if a cut mango has reached optimal ripeness:

  • Flesh yields slightly when gently pressed
  • Fruit has an aromatic, sweet smell
  • Color has become more yellow/orange
  • Texture is juicy and tender, not starchy or crunchy

Uses for ripe mangoes

Once your cut unripe mango has sweetened, here are some ways to enjoy it:

  • Eat raw – Enjoy mango chunks as a healthy snack or dessert.
  • Add to smoothies – Blend ripe mango into smoothies and shakes.
  • Make salsa – Diced mango is excellent in homemade salsas.
  • Top yogurt – Mix mango chunks into yogurt parfaits or lassis.
  • Toast in oatmeal – Dice mango to add tropical flavor to hot oatmeal.
  • Blend into juice – Puree mango with other fruit for fresh juice.

Can you freeze a ripe cut mango?

Yes, ripe mango that has been cut can be frozen to enjoy later. To freeze cut mango:

  1. Peel and cut mango into chunks or puree in a blender.
  2. Spread mango pieces/puree in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Freeze until solid, about 2-3 hours.
  4. Transfer frozen mango to freezer bags or airtight containers.
  5. Store frozen up to 6 months.

Thaw frozen mango in the refrigerator before using in smoothies, desserts, salsa, or other applications. The thawed fruit may be a bit mushier than fresh.


Cutting into an unripe mango can lead to disappointment, but there are many clever ways to ripen, cook, and sweeten the tart flesh. Allowing the mango to sit at room temperature for a few days encourages natural ripening so you can eventually enjoy the juicy, sweet fruit. Unripe mango also shines when pickled, added to chutneys, or used to marinate meats before cooking. With some patience and creativity, you can transform the sour fruit into something delicious.

Ripening Method Time Result
Leave at room temperature 1-3 days Sweet, juicy flesh
Cook with heat 20-60 mins Soft, intensified flavor
Pickle in brine 1-2 weeks Tender, tangy flavor

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