Not only do mango trees work well as an ornamental feature tree, but they also produce the most delicious fruits. Granted, it’ll take about five years before fruit production really gets going, but, after this, yields will only improve year after year.
So, when you’re faced with a mango tree studded with fruit, when should you be picking those mangoes? And, just as importantly, how? Here’s everything you need to know.
When to Harvest Mangoes
The mango harvesting season runs for several months. Each fruit will usually ripen in its own time, meaning that you’ll need to keep checking back to determine the best time to pick each one.
The first thing to keep in mind is that, unlike with many other fruits, it isn’t a huge deal if you harvest a mango a little too early. They’ll continue to ripen after they have been picked. Green mangoes can also be used in everything from salads to pickles.
However, if you’re able to leave the fruit on the tree until the optimum time, they’ll taste so much better. This is because those final few weeks are when the fruits really develop their sugars and nutrients, giving them a much more succulent flavour.
So, how do you know when a mango is at the perfect point of ripeness?
One sign is that the fruit will develop a slight blush. The pointy tip will have also rounded off – it’ll look much fuller than it used to. At this stage, the mango is ready to be picked.
How to Harvest Mangoes
While you may be tempted to simply reach up and pluck a fruit off your mango tree…don’t. Always use a knife when harvesting mangoes. You’ll need to cut the fruit so that about 5cm of its stem is still attached. If you don’t, the sap that’s released when a mango is harvested could end up burning the fruit. This turns the fruit black and rotten very quickly, meaning that you won’t be able to store that mango.
Chances are that some of your mangoes won’t be within easy reach. In this case, you’ll need to either turn to a ladder or a picking stick. These are easy to make at home – all you need is a plastic bottle and a long pole. This will then allow you to harvest those mangoes that are sitting higher up in the tree.
How to Store Mangoes
Once you have harvested your mangoes, they’re best kept at room temperature. They’ll last for about a week or so, although under-ripe mangoes will keep on your kitchen counter for a little longer.
When it comes to long-term storage, you have a couple of options. Freezing is a popular one – you can either freeze the fruit in chunks, or blend it up and freeze the puree. This is a great method for those who tend to use mangoes in smoothies.
Alternatively, try drying your mangoes, or turning them into a fruit leather. This way, they’ll keep for up to a year.
Mango trees are such a rewarding tree to grow. Whether you grow them in the ground or in pots, they not only provide a stunning focal point to the space around them, but they’ll also give you fresh and juicy fruits to harvest for a large portion of the year.