Canning mangoes at home is a great way to preserve an otherwise expensive fruit for cooking all year round. When you can mangoes at home, you can use as much or as little sugar as you’d like, meaning that they’re much more versatile than store-bought.
Most of the year, mangoes are unbelievably expensive, especially in the Northeast.
Once mangoes come in season in mid-summer, the grocery stores are almost giving them away. They sell for as little as 50 cents a piece, down from $3 or more each. When that happens, it’s time to get canning!
So here it is, early July, and we’re in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave. I’m combing the aisles of the grocery store, planning on living on nothing but fruit for the next week.
Then there it is, a truly beautiful sight to behold. Mangoes stacked high in cases half way to the ceiling, and at 2 for $1. I brought home 2 cases without any sort of plan.
I’d just bottled up a small batch of mango wine made from mango nectar. Mangoes are never quite cheap enough around here to justify making wine with fresh mangoes. As soon as I break down and make a batch, they go on sale.
It figures. Nonetheless, I’ve got mango wine in the bottle. What else can I make?
Next up was fresh mango lassi and Thai sticky rice with mango. Both delicious, but I’ve still got piles of cheap mango left and the clock is ticking. Time to get canning.
Is it Safe to Can Mangoes?
So here’s the tricky part. Mangoes seem acidic just like any other fruit, but their ph can on occasion be slightly above the safe level for canning.
Fruits need to be below a pH of 4.5 for water bath canning on their own, and mangoes range between 3.4 and 4.8. That means it’s possible that any given mango might not be quite acidic enough for safe canning.
Since mangoes aren’t exactly the most popular canning fruit, the USDA has not developed specific canning recommendations. There are a number of studies that have studied the safety of adding acid to canned mangoes. The USDA has developed canning recommendations for other low acid fruits, such as papaya.
Papaya is much less acidic than mangoes, ranging from a pH of 5.2 to 6.0. The USDA recommends adding 1/4 cup of lemon juice to each quart of papaya to allow for safe water bath canning.
Following that same direction should be more than adequate for a much more acidic fruit like mangoes.
That said, this recipe has not specifically been tested by the USDA. Canning is always “at your own risk” but that’s especially so when using untested canning recipes. Use your best judgment here, and realize you are responsible for your own safety when using untested canning recipes.
How to Can Mangoes
Canning mango is about as simple as putting any other sort of fruit. It’s naturally high sugar but often don’t have quite enough acid for water bath canning on their own.
They’ll need a bit of acid added to the canning liquid to ensure that their pH is below 4.5. Mangoes will need 1/4 cup of lemon juice added to each quart, or 2 Tablespoons added to each pint.
Sliced or chopped mango is canned in a sugar syrup. Anywhere from very light syrup, which mimics the natural sugar content of the fruit, all the way up to very heavy syrup which basically makes a candied mango.
I’m canning this mango in very light syrup because mangoes are sweet enough as it is, but since there’s so much added lemon juice you may want to add slightly more sugar depending on your tastes. I just want enough sugar in the syrup so that the flavor of the mango doesn’t get washed out into the water, but not so much that it makes the mangoes any sweeter.
Very light syrup uses 3/4 cups of sugar for every 6 1/2 cups of water. That’ll make enough for a canner batch of 9 pints. I’ve used quite a few of my mangoes already, and I only have enough left for 3 pints.
A tiny batch of very light syrup can be approximated at 1/4 cup of sugar to 2 cups of water. That’s actually slightly more sugar in the ratio, but it doesn’t need to be exact.
Extra heavy syrup, in case you’re wondering, has a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar and water. So anywhere between a 1:8 and 1:1 sugar to water ratio works. Adjust to your own tastes.
Peel and seed the mango, leaving the chunks however you’d like. A quart jar can hold approximately 5 mangoes, or more accurately 10 mango halves. I bottled up one quart with large chunks, leaving the pieces as large as I could while still removing the seed.
You can fit slightly more mango into a jar if they’re diced, and I packed 3 diced mangoes into a wide mouth pint jar.
Mango should be packed relatively tightly in the jars because the fruit will shrink in the canner during processing. This is the same for any raw packed fruit.
Once you’ve decided how to slice them, pack the mangoes into a pint or quart mason jar. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to each quart or 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to each pint jar. Set the jars aside while you make a syrup.
Add water and sugar to a saucepan and stir to dissolve. Heat the syrup in a saucepan, and once it’s boiling, pour it over the top of the mangoes leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
The process times for canned mangoes are the same as home canned pineapple. Process pints and half pints in a water bath canner for 15 minutes, and quarts for 20 minutes.
Take any fresh or frozen mango and turn it into shelf-stable home canned mango.
- 8 or 9 mangoes, peeled and seeded
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- lemon juice * See Note Below
Slice the peeled and seeded mango into chunks or leave them in large halves. Pack the mango into mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to each quart or 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to each pint to ensure proper acidity. Set the jars aside and while you make a canning syrup.
Bring sugar and water to a boil on the stovetop. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Pour the boiling syrup over the mangoes in canning jars. Remove air bubbles with a plastic utensil. Seal the jars with 2 part lids.
Process in a water bath canner. Process times are 15 minutes for pints and half-pints, and 20 minutes for quarts.
Pint jars hold 3 diced mangoes, and a quart will hold either 6 diced mangoes or 5 halved mangoes.
This recipe yields enough syrup and mango for 3 pints, or 1 quart and 1 pint. Double or triple this recipe as needed to deal with larger volumes of mango.
Add the lemon juice directly to the jars before packing mangoes. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to quarts, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to pints.
This recipe has not specifically been tested by the USDA. Canning is always "at your own risk" but that's especially so when using untested canning recipes. Use your best judgment here, and realize you are responsible for your own safety when using untested canning recipes.
How to Use Canned Mango
Now that you have shelf-stable mango all canned up in the pantry, how do you use it? Canned mango is almost as versatile as fresh mango, and in many cases, you can barely tell it’s cooked. Try using home-canned mango in any of these recipes:
- Mango Lassi
- Mango Lassi with Kefir
- Mango Mousse
- Kale Salad with Mango, Avocado and Feta
- Roasted Mangoes with Blueberries and Walnuts
- Almond Butter Mango Overnight Oats