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Mango Varieties - What NOT to Buy

MangoGal May 29, 2013 12:11 PM

Hi All -

A question I get all the time is...how do I know what mangoes to buy/not buy. Well, I'll tell you...Avoid Tommy Atkins mangoes; they are stringy/have fiber. For a full primer on the mango varieties available in US markets, please refer to the collection of blog posts contained in this link - I review every single one in detail. You'll never buy a bad mango again! :) I've attached a pic of a Kent mango box at Costco.




  1. LMAshton May 31, 2013 03:24 AM

    In Sri Lanka, the best mangoes I've ever had were a variety called karthakolomban. They're luscious, sweet and so flavourful. They're also more expensive than other varieties of mangoes, of course. My mother in law, though, has this variety of mango tree in her front yard, so when we're in Sri Lanka and they're in season, we always get these mangoes by the bucketload.

    Unfortunately, I don't know what their English name would be, nor do I know their species name. But if you do manage to come across this variety, get some. They're so lovely! :)

    1. tcamp May 30, 2013 05:18 AM

      What about green mangos like you'd use for indian mango pickle? Is that a special type of mango or just an unripe version of any mango?

      3 Replies
      1. re: tcamp
        luckyfatima May 30, 2013 05:55 AM

        For green mangos for pickling or cooking, I go for the small size. I don't know what they are called, but they are about the size of a large lemon. I have tried the large ones a few times and find that their texture isn't always as nice, but they still work. I don't know the name of the kind I get, but they are always at the Indian grocery or multinational hypermarket near me.

        1. re: luckyfatima
          tcamp May 30, 2013 06:37 AM

          Thanks! These green ones you buy, are they firm or soft (ripe)?

          1. re: tcamp
            luckyfatima May 30, 2013 09:58 AM

            I only buy them when they are ripe or almost ripe and smell sweet and perfumey at the store, and I only have to let them ripen for 1-2 days or I can even eat them the same day. I have had bad experiences ripening at home with mangoes that may have been mishandled or chilled and then never get to the peak sweetness.

      2. f
        freelancer77 May 30, 2013 05:10 AM

        I'm Indian, and grew up in England, and the mango variety that my family has always loved is called an Alphonso. Unfortunately I have never seen those in the US (unless they are sold under a different name?). Would you happen to know whether they are available in the US? And if not, what variety might be closest as an alternative?

        4 Replies
        1. re: freelancer77
          Westminstress May 30, 2013 06:43 AM

          Indian markets around here get them in season -- and it's a short season and they often sell out quickly. I would try your local Indian grocer and ask if they can notify you when they come in, then you can buy a case.

          1. re: Westminstress
            freelancer77 May 30, 2013 04:37 PM

            Thank you!

          2. re: freelancer77
            MangoGal May 30, 2013 08:16 AM

            You might try Savani Farms... The mail order market is not yet very robust for Alphonsos so do proceed with care when ordering online. I think, but am not 100% sure that organic, ripe Hadens might be a decent substitute.

            1. re: MangoGal
              freelancer77 May 30, 2013 04:37 PM

              Thanks very much!

          3. s
            Sal Vanilla May 29, 2013 11:38 PM

            Hey Wendy - you wouldn't happen to know what Mangoes are most often grown in S. Florida. I lived there as a teen and our house was in a mango grove. They were the most sweet and easy to handle mangoes ever. Good even when green.-

            The fruit looked similar to pic six in your header, but the stem was brown or green, not red.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sal Vanilla
              MangoGal May 30, 2013 08:36 AM

              Hi Sal -

              I whipped out my trusted mango guide and boy - the mangoes you're thinking of could be any one of these: Ford, Irwin, Kent, Rosigold, Sunset, Smith, Z80, Torbert, or Zill. Florida has a TON of mango varieties, so the mangoes you're remembering so fondly could be something different altogether as well.

              1. re: MangoGal
                Sal Vanilla May 30, 2013 10:18 AM

                Well at least I have a place to start. Thank you for looking it up!

            2. luckyfatima May 29, 2013 05:33 PM

              I dislike Tommy Atkins, too. The mango that I have been most impressed with here is the Mexican (not Chilean!) ataulfo.

              1. s
                stak May 29, 2013 05:18 PM

                In Montreal we can get the big ones but I prefer the smaller, yellow ones that I think are labelled "Ataulfo". However, the last few times I've bought them, they have been inedibly sour, even when they looked and felt ripe. Has anyone else noticed this? My mom has noticed the same thing in Vancouver.

                1 Reply
                1. re: stak
                  MangoGal May 29, 2013 07:34 PM

                  I've never had a sour ataulfo; I can't even imagine such a thing. Make sure they are soft and have little wrinkles before you cut into them - that's how you know they're ready. If the flavor is bad under those conditions, I'd return them.

                2. e
                  elise h May 29, 2013 03:35 PM

                  I bought some organic mangoes that were hard to the touch, much less ripe than I usually buy them. They took over a week to ripen. But they had black blotches inside them when I cut them. Is it better to buy mangoes closer to being ripe? Or what caused the black blotches inside?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: elise h
                    MangoGal May 29, 2013 04:33 PM

                    You probably got a bad batch of mangoes - perhaps they were afflicted with a disease called diplodia. The process you used (buy and let ripen) is normally 100% aok, so I wouldn't change your tactic. I've had the same thing happen occasionally and it's so frustrating when the mangoes look good on the outside and the inside is ruined! If this happens again, I would take them back to the store. They were doomed from the get go. You know a mango is ripe when they are soft to the touch and have little wrinkles beginning to form here and there on the skin.

                  2. q
                    Querencia May 29, 2013 12:20 PM

                    How lovely to have a choice! In Chicago we mostly takes what we gets and likes it. Usually we have "big ones" vs "Manila mangoes" and variety isn't always on the label. One year in a pretty ratty African market I got mangoes that seemed to have no fiber at all---had the consistency of pudding. Seems to be a matter of chance here. But thanks for the link---I will watch for the good names.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Querencia
                      MangoGal May 29, 2013 04:36 PM

                      Manila mangoes are typically marked as such, but the "big ones" are many times labeled as just "mangoes." Before you buy, ask the produce gal/guy at the store about the variety. You know what to do if they are Tommys. :)

                      1. re: Querencia
                        gordeaux May 30, 2013 05:12 PM

                        Querencia -
                        Watch for the Alphonsos - especially in the markets on Devon. Short season, but we get them. Usually in mid summer,I think, the big honkin Mexican ones are at their peak, and it's really easy to pick out great ones, The Atualfos I've been getting have been pretty good right now.

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