Mangos come in hundreds of varieties and a range of shapes and sizes, from plum-sized fruits to those weighing 4 pounds or more. The varieties grown commercially, however, are round, oval, or kidney-shaped, and range from about the size of a large avocado to that of a small melon.
Though there are differences in color according to variety, most mangos start off green and develop patches of gold, yellow, or red as they ripen.
In the market, mangos aren’t usually identified by their varietal names, but it is worth asking the produce manager what’s available in order to take advantage of the differences in taste and texture. The most common mango available is the Tommy Atkins mango, followed by the less common varieties, such as Keitt, Kent, or Haden.
- Ataulfo: This Indonesian mango is small, flat, and slightly kidney-shaped. Its most distinguishing characteristic is that it turns completely yellow when ripe. It is also a variety that is just about fiber-free.
- Brooks: This mango cultivar originated in south Florida and is the parent of several other Florida varieties. The skin turns a green-yellow when the fruit is ripe. It is relatively low in fiber and has a mild, sweet mango flavor.
- Haden: This is a symmetrically oval mango, and usually weighs a pound or less. The flesh is moderately fibrous.
- Keitt: This is one of the largest mangos available. It commonly weighs in at 1½ pounds, but can grow as large as 3 pounds. Unlike other mangos that can have yellow and red patches when ripe, Keitts stay mostly green with just a blush of red.
- Kent: This largish mango can weigh up to 1½ pounds. A cross between Haden and Brooks mangos, it is a gratifying fruit to cut into, because its flesh is close to fiber-free (you can cut the flesh quite close to the pit and get a lot of fruit).
- Tommy Atkins: The most common variety, Tommy Atkins are symmetrical, oval-shaped fruits that are more fibrous than most other mangos. Because they are so fibrous and their fruit flavor is mild, some people who have only tried this variety don’t become fans of mango. If you’re one of these people, try some of the other varieties before writing off mangos.