This is the time of year I hoard mangos. I usually have what looks like a mango science project on my counter, with what seems like a ridiculous number sitting around, getting wrinkly.
But there’s method to my madness! I love ataulfo, or honey, mangos, and they’re really cheap this time of year, so I buy dozens of them and let them get all sweet and wrinkly and delicious.
A few weeks ago, however, I had two bowls of them ready to cut up and freeze and came across an unpleasant surprise. Honey mangos are really susceptible to chill damage, which happens when they’re stored or transported below 54 degrees. Read more on this from the National Mango Board’s ripening and handling protocols.
And that’s a problem because retailers tend to put everything in the cooler to maintain freshness. Chill damage is sneaky. You can’t tell anything is wrong until you cut a piece of fruit and it looks like this:
This is no way to increase mango consumption.
Just when I thought I’m good at picking mangos, I binged at a couple of stores and had 32 of them waiting to be cut, blended, and frozen for smoothies. Eight of 32 had some degree of chill damage. I was mad. I was ready to do an expose on who did it, but I mixed up the fruit from two different stores and couldn’t be certain which was the offender.
So, I decided to get semi-scientific about it and bought mangos at every store I could think of in the greater Austin area (minus Fiesta, because the honey mangos on the display that day weren’t the same level of ripeness as everyone else).
I let them get all wrinkly and awesome, and had my son Ike help me cut.
And then, of course, out of the 35 new ones I had, only one had chill damage.
Now, what do I do with all of these mangos? I’ll show you.