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How to Ripen a Mango When You Want to Eat It, Like, Now
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

When a craving for a mango margarita or mango guacamole strikes (which is often, in our experience), you shouldn’t have to wait until that fruit on your kitchen counter feels soft. Seize the day, we say. In other words, you should enjoy that juicy, sweet fruit now. All you need is a few clever tricks for how to ripen a mango quickly. And here they are. You’re welcome. 

Method 1: Use the microwave

This isn’t necessarily the best way to ripen a mango (you probably won’t get the same amount of sweetness), but it’s certainly the quickest. Here’s what to do: Use a knife and carefully poke the mango in four to five places (this will help the steam escape). Next, wrap the fruit in a paper towel and place it in the microwave for ten seconds. Gently press into the mango to check if it’s ripe (i.e., slightly soft with a little give). If not, microwave it for another ten seconds until it’s ready to eat. 

Method 2: Use a brown paper bag

You’ve probably come across this trick for ripening avocados, and it works the same way for this tasty, yellow fruit. Simply leave the mango in a brown paper bag, roll it shut and store on your kitchen counter. Mangoes (like avos) release ethylene, an odorless gas that speeds up the ripening process. The paper bag makes this gas work overtime and means your mango should be ripe in a couple of days (or less, so keep checking every day). 

Method 3: Use uncooked rice

Another way to harness the power of ethylene gas is to submerge your mango in a bowl of uncooked rice or popcorn kernels overnight. You should be ready to whip up that guacamole in a day or two (but again, keep checking regularly).

Method 4: Be patient

Bought your mango on a Monday and having friends over for a fiesta on Friday? To let your mangoes ripen naturally, simply let the fruit sit on the kitchen counter at room temperature until it’s ready to eat (which might take a few days). 

Per the National Mango Board (yep, it’s a real thing), once your fruit is perfectly ripe, you should store it in the fridge to slow down the ripening process. A whole, ripe mango can be stored in the fridge for five days. Or you can peel your mango, cut it into cubes and place in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six months. Enjoy.

RELATED: How to Store Every Single Type of Fruit (Even If It's Half Eaten)

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