What Is This White Stuff on My Mango—and Is It Safe to Eat?

It's not dangerous, but it does affect the flavor of your mango.

Mangoes were never a big part of my childhood. I hadn’t even had one until my friend introduced me a few years ago—boy, was I missing out. Nothing beats a freshly cut mango with a squeeze of lime and some Tajin. Favorite summer snack unlocked!

That doesn’t mean mangoes don’t have the occasional imperfection, though. You may have seen white spots on mango skin before and been confused. Is the fruit still safe to eat? Here’s what you need to know.

What Are the White Spots in My Mango?

While we wish every fruit we cut into was the cream of the crop, it doesn’t always happen that way. Mangoes have a solid pit in the middle and can be difficult to cut properly. And the last thing we want to see after struggling to peel our tropical fruit is weird little white spots all over! What’s up with that?

It has to do with the initial harvesting process. After mangoes are picked, they’re then sent to a 115°F hot water bath to kill any potential fruit flies or larvae on the fruit. They sit in this water for about an hour. However, if a mango hasn’t yet matured, the hot water can confuse the fruit. The mango’s metabolism begins to speed up and causes fermentation due to the lack of oxygen, thus generating alcohol and carbon dioxide.

The carbon dioxide has nowhere to escape, so it starts to create little white pockets in the flesh of the fruit.

Is It Safe to Eat?

Thankfully, yes. However, it’s probably not going to be the greatest mango you ever tasted. The hot water also stops the mango from ever reaching its full, fruity potential and instead leaves it somewhere in mediocre-land. But it’s still edible. If you don’t want to waste it, try mixing it into something like a mango salsa or cowboy caviar. Here’s the recipe for cowboy caviar.

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Melany Love
Having always wanted a career in writing, Melany couldn't have found a better place than Taste of Home to begin. When she's not scribbling in her notebook or working at her computer, she can be found experimenting with new recipes or relaxing with a book and her cats.