With Potassium, Antioxidants, Vitamins, Fiber-Mango, the Perfect ‘Superfruit’ for your Body
By- Joe D’Souza, Mangaluru, Pics by Alfie D’Souza, Team Mangalorean
Mangaluru: It’s once again that time of the year we see lots of mangoes in different varieties and different tastes. Yes, March, April, May and probably June -those are the best months of the year because of “Aam (Mango) Season “. You can’t walk into City Central Market, without being enveloped by the sweet smell of ripe mangoes. The fruit markets are flooded with mangoes. Mangoes are known as the king of all fruits. Not only that but mangoes (irrespective of the variety) go pretty well with our spicy coastal food. The combination of sweet and spicy food is how the local people like here. Mangoes are the all time favourite fruit in the kudla.
Presently, although the mangoes cost between Rs.75-Rs 100 a kilo, depending on the variety but people usually do not have second thoughts on buying these sweet temptations. Wait for few weeks or couple of months the prices will drastically go down. Among the local varieties, the favourites are Mundappa, Mangalore wild mangoes (kaatu), Shirva kashi, Kadri, local variety of Alfonso, Kalapadi, Mattupadi and Sakre potli which are the initial variety to flood markets.
I have four varieties of Mangoes namely Mundappa, Neelam, Thothapuri and Pairi in my property. Couple of the varieties is good for making pickle/chutney. Though India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world, it accounts for less than 1 percent of the global mango trade because Indian farmers have little access to foreign markets. This has led to mangoes being available as a fair trade item in some countries. Alphonso mango known for its sweetness and flavor is considered to be the best and is also expensive. Here in India and also in Mangalore, you will find Mangoes piled on the side of the street, or in the fruit market- great pyramids of red, green and gold, ripening in the lazy heat. And a vendor chants the names of his mangoes: Tothapuri, Alphonso, Badami. Neelum etc etc.
There are said to be some 1,500 varieties of mangoes in India. Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous species of tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. Mango is one of the most extensively exploited fruits for food, juice, flavor, fragrance and color, making it a common ingredient in new functional foods often called “superfruits.” Mango trees reach about 9 feet tall, with a crown radius of 35 feet. The leaves are evergreen, alternate and simple. The flowers are produced in terminal panicles 4 to 16 inches long; each flower is small and white with five petals, with a mild sweet odor suggestive of lily of the valley. The fruit takes many weeks to ripen.
Color is not the best way to determine ripeness of the mango. Sniff for a fragrant fruity odor at the stem end or squeeze very gently to detect a firm yet yielding feel under your fingers. The best way to ripen the mangoes is to place them in a brown paper bag or leave them in their original box and keep them at room temperature and then refrigerate them when ripe. If the mango develops black spots, the mango is past its prime and it tastes bad.
Mangoes really can make you feel better! Beyond being delicious and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, mangoes contain an enzyme that acts as a digestive aid. Mangoes act as a good source of dietary fibers, protecting against degenerative diseases, especially with regard to the heart; they may help prevent certain types of cancer and also lower blood cholesterol. Always rinse mangoes thoroughly before consuming. That’s because mangoes are a distant relative of poison ivy and the residue of sap from the tree on the skin of the mango may cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Most of the mango varieties thrive in places with good rainfall (75 to 375 cm per annum) and dry season. The distribution of rainfall is more important than its amount. Dry weather before blossoming is conducive to profuse flowering. Rain during flowering is detrimental to the crop as it interferes with pollination. However, rain during fruit development is good but heavy rains cause damage to ripening fruits. Mango grows well on wide variety of soils, such as lateritic, alluvial, sandy loam and sandy. Although it grows very well in high to medium fertility soils, its cultivation can be made successful even in low fertility soils by appropriate management especially during early stages of growth. Very poor and stony soils on hill slopes should, however, be avoided.
The ripe fruit is variable in size and color, and may be yellow, orange, red or green when ripe, depending on the cultivator. When ripe the unpeeled fruit gives off a distinctive resinous smell. In the center is a single flat, oblong seed which is fibrous or hairy on the surface. There are more than thousand mango varieties in India. However, only about 30 varieties are grown on commercial scale in different states.
Important mango varieties cultivated in different states of India:
Andhra Pradesh: Banganpalli, Bangalora, Cherukurasam, Himayuddin, Suvarnarekha
Bihar: Bombai, Langra, Fazri, Himsagar, Kishen Bhog, Sukul, Bathua
Goa: Fernandin, Mankurad, Alphonso
Gujarat: Alphonso, Kesar, Rajapuri, Vanraj
Haryana: Dashehari, Langra, Bombay Green
Karnataka: Alphonso, Bangalora, Mulgoa, Neelum, Pairi
Kerala: Mundappa, Olour, Pairi
Madhya Pradesh: Alphonso, Bombai, Langra and mostly seedling types
Maharashtra: Alphonso, Kesar, Mankurad, Mulgoa, Pairi
Orissa: Baneshan, Langra, Neelum, Suvarnarekha and mostly seedling types
Punjab: Dashehari, Langra, Chausa
Tamil Nadu: Banganpalli, Bangalora, Neelum, Rumani, Mulgoa
Uttar Pradesh: Bombay Green, Dashehari, Fajri, Langra, Safeda Lucknow, Chausa
West Bengal: Bombai, Himsagar, Kishan Bhog, Langra
Characteristics of important Indian varieties:
1. Alphonso: This is the leading commercial variety of Maharashtra state and one of the choicest varieties of the country. This variety is known by different names in different regions, viz. Badami, Gundu, Khader, Appas, Happus and Kagdi Happus. The fruit of this variety is medium in size, ovate oblique in shape and orange yellow in colour. The fruit quality is excellent and keeping quality is good. It has been found good for canning purpose. It is a mid season variety
2. Bangalora: It is a commercial variety of south India. The fruit size is medium to large, its shape is oblong with necked base and colour is golden yellow. Fruit quality is poor. Keeping quality is very good. It is widely used for processing. It is a mid season variety.
3. Banganpalli: It is a commercial variety of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and also known as Chapta, Safeda, Baneshan and Chaptai. Fruit is large in size and obliquely oval in shape. The colour of the fruit is golden yellow. Fruit quality and keeping quality are good. It is a mid season variety and is good for canning.
4. Bombai: It is a commercial variety from Bihar state. It is also known as Malda in West Bengal and Bihar. Fruit size is medium, shape ovate-oblique and colour yellow. Fruit quality and keeping quality are medium. It is an early season variety.
5. Bombay Green: It is commonly grown in north India due to its early ripening habit. It is also called Malda in Northern India. Fruit size is medium, shape ovate oblong and fruit colour is spinach green. Fruit quality is good and keeping quality is medium. It is a very early variety.
6. Dashehari: This variety derives its name from the village Dashehari near Lucknow. It is a leading commercial variety of north India and one of the best varieties of our country. The fruit size is medium, shape is oblong to oblong oblique and fruit colour is yellow. Fruit quality is excellent keeping quality is good. It is a mid season variety and is mainly used for table purpose.
7. Fajri: This variety is commonly grown in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Fruit is very large, obliquely oval in shape. Fruit colour is light chrome. Fruit quality and keeping quality are medium. This is a late season variety.
8. Fernnadin: This is one of the oldest varieties of Bombay. Some people think that this variety originated in Goa. Fruit size is medium to large, fruit shape is oval to obliquely oval and fruit colour is yellow with a red blush on shoulders. Fruit quality and keeping quality are medium. It is a late season variety mostly used for table purpose.
9. Himsagar: This variety is indigenous to Bengal. This is one of the choicest varieties of Bengal and has gained extensive popularity. Fruit is of medium size, ovate to ovate oblique. Fruit colour is yellow. Both fruit and keeping quality are good. It is an early variety.
10. Kesar: This is a leading variety of Gujarat with a red blush on the shoulders. Fruit size is medium, shape oblong and keeping quality is good. It is an early variety.
11. Kishen Bhog: This variety is indigenous to Murshidabad in West Bengal. Fruit size is medium, fruit shape is roundish oblique and fruit colour is yellow. Fruit quality and keeping quality are good. It is a mid season variety.
12. Langra: This variety is indigenous to Varanasi area of Uttar Pradesh. It is extensively grown in northern India. Fruit is of medium size, ovate shape and lettuce green colour. Fruit quality is good. Keeping quality is medium. It is a mid season variety.
13. Mankurad: This variety is of commercial importance in Goa and in the neighbouring Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. The variety develops black spots on the skin in rainy season. Fruit is medium in size, ovate in shape and yellow in colour. Fruit quality is very good. Keeping quality is poor. It is a mid season variety.
14. Mulgoa: This is a commercial variety of southern India. It is quite popular among the lovers of mango owing to high quality of its fruit. Fruit is large in size, roundish oblique in shape and yellow in colour. Fruit quality is very good. Keeping quality is good. It is a late season variety.
15. Neelum: This is a commercial variety indigenous to Tamil Nadu. It is an ideal variety for transporting to distant places owing to its high keeping quality. Fruit is medium in size, ovate oblique in shape and saffron yellow in colour. Fruit quality is good and keeping quality is very good. It is a late season variety.
16. Chausa: This variety originated as a chance seedling in the orchard of a Talukadar of Sandila district Hardoi, U.P. It is commonly grown in northern parts of India due to its characteristic flavour and taste. Fruit is large in size, ovate to oval oblique in shape and light yellow in colour. Fruit quality is good keeping quality is medium. it is a late variety.
17. Suvarnarekha: This is a commercial variety of Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. Other synonyms of this variety are Sundari, LalSundari. Fruit is medium in size and ovate oblong in shape. Colour of the fruit is light cadmium with a blush of jasper red. Fruit quality is medium and keeping quality is good. It is an early variety.
18. Vanraj: It is a highly prized variety of Vadodra district of Gujarat and fetches good returns. Fruit is medium in size, ovate oblong in shape and colour is deep chrome with a blush of jasper red on the shoulders. Fruit quality and keeing quality good. It is a mid season variety.
19. Zardalu: This variety is indigenous to Murshidabad in West Bengal. Fruit size is medium, oblong to obliquely oblong and golden yellow in colour. Fruit quality is very good. Keeping quality is medium. It is a mid season variety.
i) Amarapali: This hybrid is from a cross of Dashehari and Neelum. It is dwarf, regular bearing and late maturing variety. The variety is suitable for high density planting as about 1600 plants may be planted in a hectare. It yields on an average 16 tonnes / hectare.
ii) Mallika: It is from a cross of Neelum and Dashehari. Its fruit is large in size, oblong elliptical and in shape cadmium yellow in colour. Fruit and keeping quality are good. It is a mid season variety.
iii) Arka Aruna: It is a hybrid between Baganpalli and Alphonso. It is dwarf regular bearing, precocious. Fruits are large having attractive skin colour with red blush free from spongy tissue.
iv) Arka Puneet: It is a hybrid between Alphonso and Banganpalli. It regular and prolific bearer. Fruits are medium sized having attractive skin colour with red blush and free from spongy tissue. Excellent keeping quality.
v) Arka Anmol: This hybrid is from a cron of Alphonso and Janardhan Pasand. It is regular bearer and good yielder. Fruits are medium sized having uniform yellow peel colour, excellent keeping quality and free from spongy tissue.
vi) Arka Neelkiran: It is a hybrid between Alphonso and Neelum. It is , regular bearering late season variety with medium sized fruits having attractive red blush free from spongy tissue.
vii) Ratna: This hybrid is from a cross of Neelum x Alphonso. Tree vigorous, precautions, fruits are medium sized, attractive in colour and free from spongy tissue.
viii) Sindhu: It is from a cross of Ratna x Alphonso. It is regular bearer, fruits medium sized, free from spongy tissue with high pulp to stone ratio and very thin and small stone.
ix) Au Rumani: It is from a cross of Rumani x Mulgoa. It is precocious, heavy and regular bearing with large fruits having yellow cadmium skin colour.
x) Manjeera: This hybrid is from a cross of Rumani x Neelum. It is dwarf, regular and prolific bearer with firm and fibre less flesh.
Other hybrid varieties released are Alfazali, Sundar Langra, Sabri, Jawahar, Neelphonso, Neeleshan, Neeleshwari and PKM2.
Mangoes command good price throughout the season which is why they prefer to vend mangoes. Mangoes are not only meant for eating in its natural form but also there are many delicacies which are made out of mangoes. These hundreds of varieties of mangoes in India, all have a distinctive taste. Many people consider themselves connoisseurs, turning their noses up at one type or another. In India, people don’t just eat mangoes as a fruit. They’re used in desserts like aam kheer, also known as payasam, and shrikhand, as well as smoothies and lassis. I’ve also had delicious mango kulfi. Of course, king of mangoes is the Alphonso. I’ve seen people carry them in bulk when they go back to Western, European or Gulf countries.
The delightful kesar is a highly unappreciated variant. It is called kesar, which means saffron, because of its color and fragrance. If you’re making desserts, milkshakes and other goodies, this is a good mango to use because the pulp is non-fibrous. The totapuri is great for salads and salsas, but not so good on its own as it’s not so sweet. Mangoes are widely used in cuisine. Sour, unripe mangoes are used in chutneys, athanu, pickles, or side dishes, or may be eaten raw with salt, chili, or soy sauce. A cooling summer drink called panna or panha comes from mangoes. Mango pulp made into jelly or cooked with red gram dhal and green chillies may be served with cooked rice. Mango lassi, a popular drink made throughout South Asia, is created by mixing ripe mangoes or mango pulp with buttermilk and sugar. Ripe mangoes are also used to make curries.
Aamras is a popular pulp/thick juice made of mangoes with sugar or milk, and is consumed with bread, rice or pooris. The pulp from ripe mangoes is also used to make jam called mangada. Andhra Aavakaaya is a very famous pickle made from raw, unripe, pulpy and sour mango, mixed with chilli powder, fenugreek seeds, mustard powder, salt and ground nut oil. Mango is also used in Andhra to make Dal / pappu. Gujaratis use mango to make chunda (a grated mango delicacy)
Mangoes are used in preserves such as moramba, amchur (dried and powdered unripe mango) and pickles, including a spicy mustard-oil pickle and alcohol. Ripe mangoes are often cut into thin layers, desiccated, folded, and then cut. These bars are similar to dried guava fruit bars available in some countries. The fruit is also added to cereal products such as muesli and oat granola. Dried strips of sweet, ripe mango(sometimes combined with seedless tamarind to form mangorind) are also popular. Mangoes may be used to make juices, smoothies, fruit bars, mango nectar, etc etc, and as a flavoring and major ingredient in ice cream and sorbet’s.
Pieces of mango can be mashed and used as a topping on ice cream or blended with milk and ice as milkshakes. Sweet glutinous rice is flavored with coconut, then served with sliced mango as a dessert. In other parts of Southeast Asia, mangoes are pickled with fish sauce and rice vinegar. Green mangoes can be used in mango salad with fish sauce and dried shrimp. Mango with condensed milk may be used as a topping for shaved ice. Yes, mango is indeed a super fruit because of the nutrition facts of this succulent sweet tropical delight. A mango is one way to experience that tropical feeling without ever leaving your kitchen. They are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper and Vitamin A. Mangoes also contain several important phytochemicals including: Cryptoxanthin, Lutein, Gallic Acid and Anacardic acid.
Mangoes are an incredibly healthy snack. You can eat the entire fruit for just over a hundred calories. High in fiber, virtually fat-free, and mangoes contain numerous vitamins. It is easy to see why tropical mangoes are considered a super fruit. Mangoes also contain beta-carotene which may help slow the aging process, reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, improve lung function, and reduce complications associated with diabetes.
Finally, do you know that the ‘sweet bell pepper’ (capsicum) once was known as ‘Mango’ in many parts of the United States? Oh, well! It’s wonderful when a fruit that tastes so delicious has so many wonderful nutrients in it. Anyway, need potassium? Eat a mango! Need antioxidants? Eat a mango! Need vitamins? Eat a mango! Need fiber? Eat a mango, the perfect “superfruit” for your body. Make the most of the mango season and eat as many varieties as you can.
About Author :
Joe D’Souza, who had worked as a electrical engineer in Chicago Suburbs, USA for nearly 40 years is presently enjoying his retired life in Mangaluru. His hobbies are writing, reading, music, and especially gardening and cultivation. He is a “Jack of all Trades” and is always ready to help anyone having any problems with their plumbing, electrical, building, landscape etc problems-and that’s how he spends his happy retired life. He is a S.O.S. handy-man for the local police departments in their petty works. He has planted various fruit plants like Mango, pineapple, coconut, banana, guava, jackfruit, papaya, etc in his property, so look forward for his articles on these tropical fruits.