The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Pickled Green Mango, the Perfect Summer Snack

I’ve never bought a mango before.

It’s not that I don’t like the fruit. I’ve never had to. Growing up, mangos were always plentiful during summers thanks to our mango trees in the backyard. Some years the trees were so productive that we couldn’t eat the fruits fast enough. So my family would pickle the green mangos and store them in glass jars in the refrigerator to eat at our leisure throughout the rest of the year. But of course we’d eat them way before summer ended. It was the perfect snack for hot summer days—cold, crunchy and with just the right combination of salty and sweet.

My family hasn’t pickled mangos in years. It’s a lot of work—peeling, slicing and jarring. And I prefer eating them ripe without any additives. But I got a little nostalgic when a friend recently gave me pickled mangos she made from fruits she picked in her Manoa neighborhood. She grew up eating pickled mangos that her mom made.

I added a little of the pickled fruit slices in my salad for a little crunch. It was the perfect condiment to give my salad a little pop of flavor. I got her recipe and made it with equally tasty results.

If you have an abundance of mangos this summer, pick some before they ripen and try this simple pickling recipe. 

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Hawaiian salt
  • Seedless li hing mui (salty plum seed), to taste (optional)
  1. Heat the above ingredients in a pot until the sugar is thoroughly melted, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Transfer the liquid into a pouring container and let cool to room temperature. 
  3. Peel green mangos, making sure to trim off all the skin. There shouldn’t be any skin on the mango flesh.
  4. Cut the mangos into bite-sized pieces. 
  5. Pack the mango chunks and li hing mui very tightly into a glass jar. Fill with the pickling liquid. Close the jar with plastic wrap to tightly seal cover.
  6. Refrigerate for at least a day before eating. Although the jar is packed tightly, the mangos will shrink a bit in the liquid. Turn the jar upside down the next day to be sure all mango slices are soaked in the pickling liquid.

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