Is Mango a Citrus Fruit? Everything You Need to Know

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Last updated on March 13, 2023

mango-on-tree

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Smoothie tasting a bit bland?

Drinking the same boring kombucha over and over again?

Looking for something new to spice up your meals and snacks? 

Whatever the reason, I’m glad mango brought you here!

If you love tangy fruits or anything that’s both sweet and sour, mango is right up your alley.

Now, let’s go over whether or not mangos are citrus fruit, how to tell if they’re ripe, and what to do with them once you’ve got ‘em!

What is a Mango?

mango-on-white-background

These colorful beauties are edible stone fruits that grow on evergreen trees.

Said trees, Mangifera indica, can grow up to 60 feet tall!

The fruit itself is fairly big, larger than a fist, and grows in many different shapes. Most often, they resemble an oval, heart, or kidney bean.

The skin of the fruit is thick and leathery, with an almost waxy finish.

The color varies, with most unripe mangoes being green, while ripe ones range between red, orange, yellow, and green. 

In order to produce fruit, the mango tree needs a lengthy dry season! Inside the fruit lies one heck of a stone.

These large seeds burrow themselves into the fruit, making them difficult to remove. 

Despite their size and stature, the seeds are very delicate. Unlike other seeds, these do not remain viable for long after being removed from the fruit.

Farmers will often use grafting or budding techniques to plant more trees instead of sowing seeds. 

Nowadays, there are two main classifications of mangos: the “Indian type” and the “Southeast Asian type.”

They’re the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, plus the national tree of Bangladesh. Now, that’s love! 


Are Mangos Considered Citrus Fruit?

mango-tree

No, they are not. 

Listen, I understand the confusion. Mangos can be sour, even acidic at times!

But, while they are tropical fruits, they’re not citrus fruits. 

All citrus fruits are in the Rutaceae family, whereas mangos are in the Anacardiaceae family. The latter of which is also home to cashews, sumac, and poison ivy. 

So, why the sour taste?

Mangos produce citric acid through natural synthesis. This acid is part of what makes citrus fruits so, well, citrusy!

However, mangos do not produce enough to be classified as citrus fruits. 


How Sour is a Mango?


That depends on what kind of mango you have and how ripe it is!

See, unripe mangos can be quite sour; I sometimes pick up on a very refreshing hint of lime.

Ripe ones, on the other hand, are usually pretty sweet.

Now, that’s a bit vague, so let’s go more into detail. 

Mangos range between 3.4-6 on the pH scale, depending on the variety.
Green mangos are far more acidic than ripened red, yellow, or orange ones.
In fact, the ripe, colorful mangos are usually between 5.8-6 on the pH scale, which is very close to neutral (7).

For some context, orange juice ranks between 3.3 - 4.2 on the pH scale, making it fairly acidic. Mangoes take up a far greater range, so each fruit is a surprise.

Psst...
Don’t eat the skin! It has some of the chemicals found in poison ivy, so those who are sensitive to it may experience an allergic reaction. 

What is the Texture of a Mango?

While the skin of the mango is leathery and waxy, the insides are anything but.

The fruit is very soft but firm, like a slightly unripe nectarine.

Others think the texture more closely resembles a melon.

Mango can be stringy or fibrous at times, depending on the variety and ripeness. Usually, though, they’re incredibly juicy and soft. 

mango-smoothie

Mangos are a versatile ingredient given their sweet and sour nature and can be used in a variety of ways.

Here are some of the most popular mango-centric recipes: 


One of the simplest ways to enjoy mango is to drizzle chamoy on top and eat it plain. Delicious!

Mango is also great for altering tried-and-true recipes, such as the listed mango salsa. Less spicy and more flavorful? I’m in! 

Last but not least, you could always add mango to a cocktail for a tropical twist. Try it with tequila or in your next margarita and get ready to be blown away! 

Where Do Mangos Grow?

mango-tree

This tropical fruit grows on evergreen trees native to Southeast Asia. More specifically, northeastern India, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

In general, mangos love growing in hot areas that simulate tropical conditions. 

Once upon a time, mangos only grew in the aforementioned region because of how difficult they are to propagate!

Their seeds are only viable for about a day after being separated from the fruit.

Before, getting mango seeds halfway across the world in time was impossible.

Luckily, modern technology came to save the day! Grafting and budding techniques helped spread mangos across the globe. 

Nowadays, mangoes grow anywhere that’s hot and frost-free, including Africa, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Spain, and even the Southern United States!

Fun Fact:

India is the world’s biggest mango producer, claiming around 45% of the world’s production.

How Do You Tell When a Mango is Ripe?


Like avocados, testing a mango’s ripeness all comes down to touch. 

It’s difficult to tell whether a mango is ripe or not based on coloring alone.

Since some mangos are green when ripe, it’s an unreliable method. Luckily, you can give it a squeeze and know right away! 

If it’s hard, it’s unripe. If it’s firm but not hard, it’s somewhat ripe, but not ready yet. Finally, if it’s got some give to it, it’s just right. 

Some say you can also smell the stem to tell if it’s ripe or not. Allegedly, mango stems give off a fruity aroma when ripe.

By the way, if you buy an unripe mango, don’t worry about it. Mangos will continue to ripen when left out on the counter.

Once ripe, they can go in the fridge.


How Long Will Mangos Last?

sliced-mango

If you buy unripe mangos, they can last up to a week out on the counter.

If they’re ripe, it’s best to put them in the fridge to slow down the ripening process.


Usually, ripe ones will only last up to five days in the fridge. 

Now, if you already have cut-up mango, keep it in the fridge in a sealed container, where it’ll last between two and three days.

Last but not least, we have the freezer!

You can freeze mango for up to six months, assuming it’s been washed and cut up beforehand. This is a great option for any smoothie fans out there too. 


Conclusion

So, for those of you who were wondering, mangos are not citrus fruits, though they do contain citric acid. While they can be sour, they aren’t in the citrus family. 

Unsure if your mango is ready to eat? Give it a squeeze! If it’s firm, put it back on the counter. If it’s a bit soft, you’re good to go! 

If it’s your first time trying mango, let us know how it goes in the comments!

Happy eating!

Dolly

About the author, Dolly

Dolly is a student at Goldsmiths, University of London and an avid cook. After managing a miniature organic farm for a year, she fell in love with the art of cooking and the taste of homegrown greens. Dolly first became plant-based eight years ago, and she is now a full-blown vegan; her plant-based journey has made her creative and experimental in the kitchen. If she’s not writing or cooking, Dolly can be found on her front porch, strumming her guitar and singing for anyone who will listen.