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How Can You Tell if a Mango is Ripe? If you’re planning to prepare the recipe the same day, you’ll need to pick a ripe mango (unless the recipe specifically calls for unripened mangoes, as in this recipe for Thai Green Mango Salad). It’s best not to judge a mango’s ripeness based on color: while all unripe mangoes have a green skin, the exact color and shading of a ripened mango depends on the cultivar. For example, ripened Tommy Atkins mangoes have greenish/golden skin with red highlights, while Mexican-grown Ataulfo mangoes have a yellow skin with no red at all, and ripe Kent mangoes retain a large amount of green with some red shading. (Mango growers continually struggle with consumer's misperception that mangoes with partially green skin cannot be fully ripe).
The best way to test a mango’s ripeness is to judge its aroma and texture. Ripe mangoes have a) a fragrant smell and b) should gently yield to gentle pressure (think of a ripe peach). Avoid a mango that feels too soft (is overripe) or has brownish spots on the skin.
If you don’t need to use them immediately, unripe mangoes will ripen within a few days if left on the counter at room temperature.
A note about Thai green mangoes: the sour green mangoes featured in Southeast Asian cooking fall into their own category: picked when immature, they don’t ripen further. Cooks rely on their tart flavor to add a sour kick to dishes.