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How to select and ripen a mango

Following a post on the Cookthink blog about OXO's mango splitter, several people emailed asking how to pick a ripe mango. We asked Aliza Green, author of Field Guide to Produce, for advice. Fresh off of six weeks on the road to promote her new book, Green just emailed back with some thoughts on mangoes:

Mangoes vary greatly in size and consistency, depending on variety. My favorite at the moment is the Ataulfo (AKA champagne) mango, a small kidney-shaped mango that has rich jellyish flesh with little stringiness.

Look for mangoes that are football shaped rather than thin or flat. The flatter mangoes may be stringy. Avoid stringy looking, shriveled mangoes. The mangoes that are fuller and rounder usually have the deep color of a ripe peach instead of the yellowish green that the other varieties have.

Avoid mangos with a sour or alcoholic smell. Because of their high sugar content, mangoes will ferment naturally.

Most mangoes when you buy them in the store are hard. They must be fully ripened before eating. Leave in cool room temperature till the flesh is yielding but not mushy. Peel color does not indicate ripeness, but most varieties will turn yellow as they ripen (except the Keitt and Kent, which can be ripe while they are still green).

Check the area around the stem; if it looks plump and round, the mango is ripe. With the stem end up, smell the mango. A ripe mango will have a sweet, fruity aroma and be slightly soft to the touch, like an avocado or peach. A few brown speckles is also a normal indication of ripeness. Once you've ripened the mango, you can refrigerate it for up to 4 days.

Recipe: Mango Wontons (Cook & Eat)
Recipe: Mango Lassi (Take-Out Menu Cookbook)

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