The Fresh Mangos You Eat in the United States are Cooked!

Did You Know?

by Keith Agoada

Have you noticed that the mangos you buy at your local supermarket don't taste quite the same as the mangos you purchased during your last visit to Mexico or somewhere else in the tropics?

Many people think it's a simple case of "freshness." Certainly it's true that a vine ripened mango, harvested at its peak flavor, and consumed right away has a spectacular flavor. It is the ideal way to eat a fresh mango and doesn't compare to a mango that was harvested premature to survive refrigeration and international shipping.

However, a big reason that mangos in the United States don't taste the same is because the USDA requires that mangos that come from most of Mexico, and all of Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil perform a "Hot Water Treatment," i.e. a 10 minute bath at 115 degrees.

This treatment is performed in order to prevent any issues related to the prevention of Mediterranean Fruit Fly outbreaks in the United States. However, the downside of this is that the quality, in my opinion, is impacted. In addition, it would be interesting to find out if this has any consequence on the nutrition of the fresh mango.

You can see on the wholesale box of mango if it has been hot water treated.

This is a photo of an organic mango that I recently bought in California at the supermarket. You can tell that the texture looks a bit off from what you may be used to in the tropics. In addition the flavor profile was just "ok."

Cooked Organic Fresh Mango, USA
Cooked Organic Fresh Mango, USA

Regardless of the Hot Water Treatment I still sometimes buy mangos in the United States, however I usually prefer to buy frozen cubed mango for personal consumption since it can be harvested ripe and doesn't require the bath.