This is a short guide to freezing mangoes. Learn how to freeze and defrost mango, what to expect from the process, and what are the best ways to use frozen mango.
Too much mango on hand, and you’re wondering about freezing the leftovers? Can you freeze mango?
Mango freezes okay. After defrosting, it turns softer and a bit mushy, so it works best in smoothies, cooked dishes, and baked goods. To freeze the fruit, cut it into chunks, pre-freeze on a cookie sheet, and transfer into a freezer bag. Or freeze the mango pureed.
That’s the short version, but there’s much more to it, as you might imagine. And that’s what this article is about.
Does Mango Freeze Well?
Mangoes freeze okay. Like most fruit, they lose some water and become soft and a bit mushy after defrosting. Because of that, using a frozen and defrosted mango in a salsa, fruit salad (or any salad, really), or eating it as a snack isn’t a good idea.
That said, soft thawed mango works perfectly fine in smoothies, cooked dishes (e.g., soups, stews, etc.), and baked goods. And that’s how I recommend you use it.
(I added a list with links to example recipes in a later section to get you started.)
Besides, you’ve probably seen frozen mango chunks in the refrigerated section of your favorite supermarket, so you know it’s okay to freeze the fruit.
Now, a ripe mango lasts only a few days, so if you can’t use yours anytime soon, freezing is your best bet. But before you go all gung ho, make sure the mango you’re about to freeze is ripe. I cover the topic in detail in my article on mango storage and ripening. And if it’s not, wait until it ripens.
All in all, if you can find at least one recipe where you can use frozen mango or adapt one from your current repertoire, you’re good to go.
Now, it’s time to go through the freezing options.
Can You Freeze a Whole Mango?
You can freeze a whole mango, but it’s not the best approach. It isn’t good for a few reasons:
- Defrosted mango is soft, which makes peeling and dicing it somewhat tricky.
- It takes much more space in the freezer than if you freeze chunks or puree.
- You have to defrost the whole thing at once – there’s no option to thaw some and leave the rest frozen.
- Defrosting takes 10+ hours.
Overall, not all of the above reasons might be a big deal for you. And if you don’t particularly care about the downsides that I outlined, feel free to freeze the whole mango.
The way I see it, you have to cut up the mango at some point anyway, so you might as well do that before freezing and have the fruit ready for use right after defrosting. This is why I recommend freezing it in chunks instead.
How to Freeze Mango Chunks
Here’s how you freeze mango:
- Prep. Wash the mango and cut it into chunks. The size is up to you, and it doesn’t really matter in most cases. If you already know how you’re going to use the mango after defrosting, cut it in a way that makes sense for the dish.
- Pre-freeze. Grab a cookie tray and line it with a silicone mat or baking paper (or omit this step if you don’t mind scraping off the chunks). Next, spread out the mango chunks in a single layer so that there aren’t any lumps (some sticking is okay – you can fix that later). Once done, chuck the cookie sheet in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours, or until the fruit pieces are frozen.
- Transfer. Take the tray out of the freezer, break apart any pieces that froze together using a spatula, and transfer everything into a freezer bag. Squeeze out the air, and seal the bag tight. If you find that helpful, label the bag with the name and date for future reference.
- Freeze. Put the bag in the freezer.
That’s it. The whole process is super simple and takes only 10 to 15 minutes of active time to complete.
Now, you might have some extra questions about the endeavor. Let’s cover those.
How Long Does Frozen Mango Last?
Mango lasts indefinitely in the freezer, but you should use it within six months for best quality.
Of course, nothing bad will happen if it sits frozen for longer, but it’ll gradually lose quality like all frozen foods. And that’s why it’s good to have a period to shoot for.
If your mango is frozen for an extended period, like more than a year, consider using it in a dish where you’ll hardly notice it. A smoothie with a bunch of other ingredients is a great candidate for that.
Is Pre-freezing Necessary?
No, of course not.
Pre-freezing allows you to freeze all the chunks together and retain the ability to grab as many as you need. That’s very useful if you don’t have a plan on how you’ll use the frozen fruit.
But if you’ve already chosen the dish you’ll use the mango in, feel free to skip pre-freezing. Instead, measure out the chunks and freeze them together in a bag. You’re going to defrost all of them at the same time anyway.
Long story short, pre-freeze your mango if it helps; skip it if it doesn’t.
Can You Freeze Mango Puree?
Freezing mango puree is an excellent option if pureed mango is what you need for a recipe or you’re freezing it for a baby. Choose an airtight container if you’re freezing a larger amount, or go with an ice cube tray if you need tiny portions for a little one.
Here’s how you freeze mango puree:
- Prep the puree. Wash the fruit, peel it, and remove the stone. Then puree it using a food processor, blender, or even a knife and a fork.
- Make portions. If you have a recipe (or recipes) in mind for the puree, portion exactly as much as you need into each container. Or divide the puree evenly into containers or ice cube trays.
- Pre-freeze. If you’re using an ice cube tray, put it in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours until the mango cubes freeze solid. Or leave it in the freezer overnight to keep things simple. Once frozen, transfer the cubes into a freezer bag. Squeeze out excess air before sealing.
- Freeze. Label the mango with the name and date if you like, and place the container(s) or bag in the freezer.
That’s it. Plain and simple.
The only downside of this solution is that there’s no going back. You’re out of luck if you’re forced to switch gears and need mango chunks instead.
Because of that, freezing mango chunks the way I described in this article might still be a better choice. You can always puree thawed mango pieces and have the puree anyway if you need it.
In other words, sticking to freezing chunks is more flexible than freezing mango puree.
How to Defrost Mango
Defrost frozen mango in the fridge overnight. Transfer the chunks or cubes you need into a resealable bag or container, and place it in the refrigerator the night before you need them.
When defrosting mango puree frozen in a container, just chuck the container in the fridge.
If you’re going with the bag, make sure it’s leakproof or place it on a plate. That’s because there will be some water after defrosting, and you probably don’t want it to spill all over the fridge shelf.
Here’s how mango chunks that I froze looked after defrosting:
As you can tell, there’s a fair bit of water that you’ll (most likely) want to drain before you use the fruit.
If you’re thawing a whole large bag of mango chunks, you should start the process a couple of hours early so that they have ample time to warm up.
Last but not least, sometimes defrosting mango isn’t necessary. For instance, if you want to throw it into your smoothie, chances are you can leave it frozen, assuming that your blender can handle it.
The same is true for any dish that involves cooking mango chunks on the stove. Instead of defrosting the mango, you add a few extra minutes of cooking to make sure the fruit defrosts and warms up.
Now that we covered thawing, it’s time to talk about ways to use frozen mango.
Ways to Use Frozen Mango
Here’s how you can use frozen mango:
- Smoothies. Frozen fruit works great in smoothies, and frozen mango isn’t an exception.
- Muffins. Muffins are probably my favorite way of using frozen fruit. Here’s the recipe that I used to shoot photos for this article.
- Bread. Flavored bread is another great option. Here’s a recipe to get you started. Besides, bread-like baked goods usually freeze well too. For example, you can freeze zucchini bread.
- Soups. Yes, fruit soups are a thing. Here’s a recipe to check out.
- Cheesecake and similar cakes. Yet another baked good to choose from (example recipe).
- Any dish that uses mango puree. You can puree defrosted mango and use it instead.
If none of these particular use cases are up your alley, you can certainly find another recipe or two that will meet your needs. Just google what type of recipe you’re interested in, and you should discover something useful in no time.
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