Takes two to tango(the mango), a tropical tutorial

at this time of year, there are two mangoes more readily available: Keitt and Kent

both are desirable, but would be good to tell one from the other.
mangoes often have stickers on them, but unfortunately, the cultivar isn’t always mentioned.
below is definitely keitt, due to size and long-ish shape. It may appear dull with a deep green or light green, but that does not necessarily mean it is sour or immature. Best way to tell is by judging its weight vs size. If heavy for size and with a bumpy contour, it is likely mature.

if identifying mangoes by appearance is too much to process, you can always ask your grocer to show you the crate. The cultivar is often stamped at one side(below)

below are keitt and kent. Kent is the ruddy and tubby one, while keitt is the duller-colored and larger specimen. Keitt’s can come as 8" long behemoths.

mangoes are stone fruits. And like some stone fruits, mangoes are most refreshing to eat while the flesh is rather firm. Mangoes are also like certain pomes, ripening from inside out. Below are the seeds of keitt and kent, left and right respectively. Keitt’s pulp , like its outer peel, is lighter in coloration, while kent, like its ruddy peel , is a deeper yellow, if not orange. Though keitt is lighter in color, it is just as good as kent. Keitt is a bit more juicy, while kent is a bit more firm.

keitt and kent are at their best when still quite firm, bordering on crisp, instead of soft. We prefer to eat them as mango chips(below) Both keitt and ketnt will be sweeter when soft, but no longer as refreshing. Take note of the greenish tinge(which are inner layers of the skin). The skin is actually edible, and probably has lots of antioxidants, but best to wash with soap and water to remove possible residues, and simply just shave the peel really lightly .

for some reason couldn’t find photos of manila mango(aka champagne/ ataulfo/honey-- among a laundry list of fancy monikers). Manila is generally smaller than keitt or kent, but overall the most pleasing to one’s tastebuds in my opinion. The only desirable trait that keitt/kent has(other than being larger) that manila does not have, is that keitt and kent do not oxidize like apples when sliced and kept in the fridge. Manila will start browning after a day or two, whereas keitt and kent retain their colors well.

lastly, there is another cultivar that is commonly sold in usa , usually at the beginning of the year: Tommy atkins cultivar, which has the same external appearance as kent(though kent is generally larger).
tommy also has a deeper yellow or orange pulp, like kent, but unfortunately does not have the pleasant aromatics, and not as sweet. I predict that growers in mexico/central/south america will ultimately disregard tommy atkins


Have you had a home grown mango? I’m not sure you’d eat those that you can buy in a store it’s a pretty stark contrast imo

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Thanks for the info. Late August or early September mangoes arrive from Mexico that are the best of the year. They are only available for a month. I never knew the variety but now assume they are Kiett.
Two other characteristics that I notice is a slight citrus taste and none of the fiber close to the seed that some other mangos have.


If you want a good run-down on the various mango cultivars, check out the tropicalfruitforum.com. A lot of members grown them and experiment with rootstocks.


i lived in the philippines for half of my existence, and grown 40 ft tall mangoes around our home, so yes :slight_smile:
have to say–the quality of mangoes here in usa have improved drastically over the years. Trees in mexico have matured and grown in vast numbers, and they seem to have mastered the timing of when to pick the fruits. Fruits are so much better quality and are way more affordble now than it was, say, 10 yrs ago.

just have to go get them from hispanic grocery stores as they have the ‘first dibs’ on imports, and not from trader joe’s or whole foods


yes some but not all of the Mexican mangos are good. So far the mangos from Ecuador in the winter months have not been good.

yeah, it still isn’t an ‘exact’ science unfortunately, as the orchard owners sometimes pick them a little too early, or dont have a choice but to do so due to logistics. The counter-seasonal harvests)below and above equator) may also affect quality and time of picking, since mangos generally bear fruit in warmer season, so during our winter here, we may end up getting deliveries from peru (mostly tommy atkins) which were harvested too early to take into account delays in delivery

Juju, you (or anyone really) might want to put in an order next season with this guy

He ships many varieties including newer zill varieties.


love it! They sure have a strong list. Also notable that they sell sapodilla. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it lol

We love Mangoes here and I am hoping to get a greenhouse to grow them here in Orangevale Ca. We love the Keitt, Kent, Haden, and Tommy’s, all great mangoes, but the Tommy’s have more fiber than the others. We prefer the above varieties to the Champagne, as the later is mostly just sweet, not as complex of flavors going on. Hoping my Kent mango ripens soon, the other picture is Kiett.


love it!
and yeah, taste is a bit subjective. To me, champagne is best when semi-ripe and peeled like a potato, then slice up the pulp into cubes. It is generally eaten as a fully-ripe fruit which is good but a bit too sweet, masking its overall flavor. Guiness book of world records supposedly deemed a champagne cousin: ‘elena’ as the sweetest mango out there.


@jujubemulberry, I will have to try the Champagne when semi-ripe, probably much better, still like it when it’s ripe, just not as much as the others.

they are really good when still quite firm, much firmer than an avocado just before it ripens, but already have a tinge of yellow, maybe just 1/3 yellow. This, of course, is contingent to the degree of maturity they were harvested. A mature champagne mango that is 1/3 yellow will be so much sweeter and will have a pleasant sour, unlike a a fully yellowed one that was picked too early(probably too sour despite being yellow throughout)

keitt and kent are quite desirable as well when half ripe, as long they were harvested mature.

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here’s tool that works really well for my when cutting mangos.



I like Kent the best. Keith is good for slicing and drying.
For ripe and soft mango, we would slice out the two halves along the pit and use the spoon to scoop, We dip the crunchy green ones in “muoi ot”, the home made vietnamese chili salt. In fact, we use that for any fruit that is sour, not eating them with sugar.
We stopped buying the mangos at the Asian stores the last two years. In a day or two, the inside next to the pit would be brown and bad, no matter how firm they were when we bought them, maybe staying in storage too long.
We don’t like the Tommy, too much fiber. I remember one time I was looking at them in the supermarket, a lady came by and said " Don’t buy those, you’d choke to death with the fiber" . :wink:

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Kent is quite popular with my folks as well. I myself think it is a little better than keitt, though like keitt a lot as well

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@anon18642480, We counter ripen ours till they have a little give, similar to most stone fruit. That way they are sweet and tangy, no sour, not a fan of sour. We like all the round varieties, the Hayden, Kent, and Keitt are our favorites. The Tommys have great flavor, but are fibrous, which makes them less desirable. We still eat them though as early on they beat the Champagne out for flavor in our opinion. Early in the season you can usually only find those two. We never put sugar on any fruit here, if it is sour we toss it to the chickens.

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I never see Hayden at the supermarkets, just the other three. In my family, one of my brothers likes Champagne and he only eats that type, so everyone has different preference. My tiny Gold Nugget is so fragrant and sweet, it would beat anything from the stores. Too bad my place is too hot and dry. Maybe next year I will try to cover with a shade to help with the heat .
In my old country, sugar is a luxury. You will see the street vendors have “muoi ot” to go with all the sour fruits. It actually complements the taste very well, and we don’t have to worry about diabetes. :wink:

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champagne is my favorite as well but i can’t possibly limit myself to eating just that. In fact i often still find myself buying and eating tommy’s when no other mangoes are available. There’s something about mangoes that i just have to have it, even if subpar…

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