Mangoes can be hard to understand for those new to tropical fruits. They often don’t know how to select them, when they are ripe, or know how to cut them. Generally I buy the yellow skinned ataulfo/champagne style mangoes because they don’t have a stringy flesh and are very sweet and creamy when ripe. Most people buy the Tommy green/red type mangoes. When ripe these can be good too but they are much stringier and have a larger woody core in them.
Mangoes will take 5-10 days to ripen depending on when they were picked and what kind of climate you live in. You can tell a mango is ripe when it is starting to wrinkle on the skin and get soft. (Just like an avocado gets soft to the touch when ripe.) It should not have any hard spots on it and should be slightly soft and juicy inside and not taught and rock hard. The inside colour will change from light yellow to dark yellow or orange depending on the variety. Unripe mangoes don’t make for tasty recipes, and when it doubt leave it another day or two. Even I sometimes get impatient and open a mango too early and am disappointed that it’s not at it’s peak ripeness yet.
Another tip I have to getting good mangoes is to NOT buy them at the regular grocery or mainstream grocery stores. I find that their supplies are often poor, they are picked super early and don’t always ripen properly. This is a terrible place to buy mangoes. Bananas can generally be bought anywhere and will ripen, but not mangoes or papayas. Buy your mangoes from fruit markets, farmers markets, China Town/Asian fruit markets, Indian markets, Whole Foods, health food stores or Costco. (Costco’s ataulfo mangoes are usually fine, but the red/green mangoes when bought out of season often don’t ripen so I avoid those until the spring/summer.)
If you live in tropical places or states like California, Hawaii or Florida you may be able to get mangoes at the regular grocery stores that are fine, but this is usually because they were shipped shorter distances and thus did not need to be picked so hard and unripe or gassed. If you live in the northern states, Canada or northern European countries, you’ll want to avoid the regular grocery stores for tropical fruit purchases because of their bulk suppliers and slow turn around times. Going to Asian markets, Indian markets or other whole sale places will be a better bet for fresher produce.