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I've bought a fresh mango for a recipe, I've not used mango fresh before and it's currently pretty green (there didn't seem to be any that were more ripe at the shop) and came with a sticker on informatively saying just "Ripen at home".

So, what's the best environment to help it ripen?
Should it be refrigerated during ripening and/or when ripe?
And how do I reliably tell when it's 'ready'?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

You can let it ripe at room temperature.

If you want to slow down the ripening process, put it in the fridge, although this will affect the mango negatively. If you want to speed up the process, put it in a bag with a banana.

When the mango is ready to eat, it will be slightly soft if you press it and you can smell the mango flesh through the peel. The green colour will not totally disappear.

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1  
As per themaroon's suggestion of an apple, bananas also produce high quantities of ethylene. As do tomatoes. If you've ever wondered why bunches of bananas ripen together it's because of increasing concentration of ethylene in the bunch. Also, the phrase one bad apple ruins the bunch is directly related to the ethylene production of the single apple increasing the production of ethylene in apples near it. So anyway, Mien says banana, themaroon says apple. I say tomato. :) –  zacechola Mar 29 '12 at 4:13
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There is some information about ethylene itself here cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/109/… so I didn't feel the need to repeat it now :) But you're absolutely right. –  Mien Mar 29 '12 at 6:39

Fruit ripens due to exposure to a gas called ethylene. If you want fruit to ripen faster, expose it to more ethylene. Industrial agriculture companies often pick fruit under-ripe, ship it, then hit it with ethylene gas to ripen near the point of sale.

One common method is to put the fruit in a paper bag, which will trap the ethylene and therefore expose the fruit to it more. If you're in a hurry, toss an apple in the bag as well. This works for almost all fruit.

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Putting the mango into a paper bag (or wrapping it into newspaper) also prevents the mango from drying. Source: my experience. :) –  Ching Chong May 14 at 7:45

Back home in India we had a big container filled with rice grains. Placing the mangoes inside the container would hasten the ripening process immensely.

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Place the mango in a bowl with raw popcorn seeds. My boyfriend is from Jalisco, Mexico, and his mother is used to ripen them in this way.

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Place in dark place, like a cabinet over night- easy.

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Store them in a warm place along with Hay.

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...hay? Why hay? –  Aaronut Mar 28 '12 at 17:27
    
In India, we do so. Dry hay acts as probably as insulator. –  tuxnani Mar 30 at 9:39

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