How To Freeze Mangoes - 3 Ways To Do It
We all know that mangoes don’t last that long. When they’re in season, they’re plentiful and relatively cheap. And if you’re like me, you take advantage of a good deal when you see one. So you couldn’t resist those mangoes on a sale in your local grocery or fruit stand.
Or maybe you have a couple of mango trees in your backyard and the harvest this year is overwhelming.
Either way, you ended up with more mangoes than you can use before they go bad. And you’d like to preserve all of them for later. You’ve already seen them frozen in the supermarket, so the only questions you have is: how to freeze mangoes?
In this guide, we will cover possible ways of freezing and defrosting the fruit and what to expect once it’s thawed. If that’s what you’re looking for, read on.
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You can usually tell fresh fruit from frozen and thawed one. And in some uses that makes a difference, while in others not so much.
When it comes to mango, the thawed fruit is slightly mushier, but the overall taste is pretty much the same. Thawed mango chunks look like this:
As you can see, there’s a bit of water in the container after thawing. If you want to use frozen mango in a fruit salad, defrost it and strain before adding to the bowl. Otherwise, you will end up with a super soggy salad, and nobody likes that.
Frozen and defrosted mango works just as well as a fresh one in cooked or blended dishes. But when it comes to eating it as-is or throwing into a salad, it’s a matter of personal preference.
Before you start preparation, make sure that your mangoes are ripe. Disregard the color, as a ripe mango won’t be of even color. Squeeze the thickest section gently to feel for ripeness, sort of like a peach. It should give in a little. If it’s your first-ever mango, don’t overthink it. The more mangoes you go through in your life, the better you will be able to tell if it’s ripe or not.
Now that you know it’s ripe, it’s time to pick the freezing method. In this guide, we go through three ways: freezing the fruit cubed or chunked, in sugar syrup, or pureeing the mangoes.
The first one is the least time-consuming and best to go with if you don’t plan on freezing the mangoes for an extended period (like half a year or more). Freezing in sugar syrup requires a bit more hands-on time, but the fruit keeps its quality better for the long term. Lastly, if your plan involves pureeing the mangoes, you can do it right away and freeze them in this form. This way, once you defrost it, it’s ready to go.
This one is super easy and allows you to defrost only as much of the fruit as you need at a time, which makes it quite versatile. Here’s how this goes:
- Peel the mango and cut the meat of the fruit into chunks, slices or strips. The size and shape of each piece are up to you. Think about how you plan on using the mangoes after thawing and choose accordingly. If you don’t have any set plans, fairly small cubes work well for almost all uses.
- Grab a baking sheet, line it with a silicone mat. If you don’t have one that fits into your freezer, take a casserole dish, or any other shallow dish that does. If you don’t yet own a silicone mat, use parchment paper instead.
- Place the chunks or slices on the baking sheet in a way they don’t each other.
- Put it in the freezer and leave it there until the fruit freezes. I usually leave it there overnight.
- Transfer the frozen fruit into freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible, and seal the bags tightly. Put the bags into the freezer for long term storage. If need be, label the containers, so that you know what’s inside and when you froze it.
That’s it. Quite simple, right?
This method requires a bit more time hands on. Because of that, I recommend it only if you want the mangoes to retain the best possible quality and you plan on keeping them in the freezer for a long time. For short time storage (like a couple of months tops), or if the recipe doesn’t rely on mango’s texture, it’s probably not worth the effort.
- Peel the mango and cut it into chunks. Once again, the size and shape are up to you.
- Prepare simple syrup. All you need is lukewarm water and sugar. You can read about different types of syrups on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website (NCHFP). For bonus points, you can add one teaspoon of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) per 4 cups of the syrup (UM).
- Mix the solution until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is clear.
- Place the fruit in an airtight container(s) and cover it with the syrup. Make sure there’s some head-space in the container, as water expands when frozen.
- Seal the container and put it into the freezer. Make sure it sits upright until it freezes. If you find it useful, add a label with name and date for future reference.
Not sure which type of simple syrup to choose? There’s no best one for freezing mango. If you’re freezing this fruit often, try different types and compare results. If it’s your first time around, try the medium syrup and see how it goes.
If you only have some mango scraps after making a fruit salad or decorating a pie, turning them into a mango purée might be the way to go. Same thing if you need it blended for the recipe; you might as well do it before freezing and have it ready to use once thawed. Here’s how to go about it:
- Peel the mangoes, cut them into chunks, and place in a blender. The more powerful your blender, the larger the pieces can be.
- Purée until everything is smooth.
- Pour the liquid into freezer-safe containers.
- Label the containers if needed, and place in the freezer.
When choosing containers and filling them up, think about how you’re going to use the purée. If it will go in a smoothie, it makes sense to divide it into servings big enough for a single smoothie. If you only need a tiny amount at a time, ice cube trays work great.
Now it’s time to thaw the fruit. There are a couple of methods to choose from:
- Thaw in the fridge. The fridge is the safest way to defrost pretty much anything). Its only downside is that it takes quite some time. Place the bag or container the evening before you need it and let the refrigerator do its job overnight.
- Use cold water. If you’re in a hurry, cold water is the way to go. Prepare a pot of cold tap water and submerge the fruit in it. It should be ready within an hour to like 3 or 4 hours, depending on how much you’re defrosting.
- Skip defrosting and throw it as is. For smoothies or cooked dishes, just like with pineapples, defrosting often isn’t necessary. If you’re throwing in frozen mango in a smoothie, add a bit less ice than you usually would, and you should be just fine. For cooked dishes, add a couple of minutes of cooking time to adjust for the icy mango.
There are quite a few ways to use thawed mango (and thawed fruit in general). Below you can find some of the most popular ideas:
- Make a smoothie. The traditional way to use frozen fruit is to add into your morning smoothie. Since everything is blended, the slight texture change won’t be noticeable.
- Use in cooked dishes. Thawed mango should work wonderfully in any cooked or baked dish that calls for this tropical fruit. The subtle change of texture and taste won’t be noticeable, and chances are the recipe will turn out perfectly fine.
- Use in frozen cocktails to add extra flavor. If you leave it frozen, it helps make the drink cold without watering it down with water from melting ice.
- Use in salsas. If you need a tropical punch in your salsa, the thawed mango might be exactly what you’re looking for. Make sure it’s fully thawed and strained before cutting and throwing it in.
- Enjoy on its own or throw into a fruit salad. For these purposes, mango frozen in simple syrup is the best option. Nevertheless, even if you’re freezing it sans the sugar solution, it makes sense to give it a go at least once. You might find it quite alright.