Mango is the king of summers and we cannot deny that. Summer season is in full-fledged action with sweltering heat but it also carries baggage of gift with it. So the first gift from the summer list is the “Aam-azing” season of mangoes. Summer = Mangoes, an equation you can never go wrong with. When the harsh, scorching summer sun looks at you with a grin, stare back at it with a mango in your hand and a smile on your face. So, lets begin to explore some facts about everyone’s favorite mango fruit. Let us understand why Mango is the king of summers.
Mango (Mangifera indica L.) is a juicy stone fruit belongs to the family of Anacardiaceae in the order of Sapindales and is grown in many parts of the world, particularly in tropical countries. It is the national fruit of India and Philippines and the national tree of Bangladesh. Over 1000 mango varieties are available worldwide. Mango fruit conquers the 2nd position as a tropical crop, behind only bananas in terms of production and acreage used. Hence undoubtedly It is the king of summers.
History of Mangoes
History of mangoes is as old as 25-30 million years ago when mangoes were first cultivated in the Northeast India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and from where it travelled down to southern India. Mangoes have enjoyed their own prized place in the history of India and its relationship with the world and so called as the “King of Fruits”.
It is a point to note that the fact that India is the original home of a mango is reflected in its botanical name- Mangifera indica, itself. It is one of the very few fruits that has found a coveted place in Hindu religious scriptures. The earliest name given to the mango was “Amra-Phal”. From it’s very first mentioned as ‘amra’ in the Brahadarnayaka Upanishad (c.1000 BC) and in the slightly later Shatapatha Brahmana, the virtues of mango fruit have been extolled for three thousand years.
It is also referred to in early vedic literature as “Rasala” and “Shakara”. It is said that mangoes were also very dear to Lord Buddha. He used to meditate in the tranquillity of lush mango groves. Even in Jain tradition, the Goddess Ambika, the harbinger of wealth and prosperity, holds a bunch of mangoes in her hand which represents fertility.
On reaching south India, the name translated to “Aaam-Kaay’ in tamil, which gradually became “Maamkaay” due to difference in pronunciation. The Malayali people further changed this name to “Maanga”. Of the most popular legends and yore, the Mughal fixation with mangoes wins hands down. Mangoes were used as tenderisers in the making of the delectable Mughlai kebabs Mango grafting too was issued only by royal patronage until Emperor Shah Jahan lifted limitations.
During the 16th century, the sea-faring Portuguese were so lured with the mangoes in Kerala, that they also took the fruit and its seeds and introduced it to Africa.
Mangoes of India
When we talk about varieties of mangoes that are cultivated in India, the list just goes and goes just like our love for the mango that is never ending. Being grown up in the city which got its name after this fruit, that is “Amroha” which combines of “Aam i.e. mango” and “Rohu i.e. a variety of a fish”, I have always been fascinated about the mangoes grown around the rest of the country. Also, being a Mango-lover I always eager to explore and enjoy exquisite varieties of the king of fruit. So here we go to our tour to Mango-land!!
Alphonso in Maharashtra
So first start with, the “Alphonso Mangoes” which are internationally loved for their sunshine yellow appearance and delightful taste. It is named after “Afonso de Albuquerque”, this voluptuous king of the mangoes. It is one of the most consumed varieties of mangoes in India. Ratnagiri and its neighboring regions in Maharashtra is known for this variety of mangoes in India.
Kesar, Pairi and Vanraj of Gujrat
“Kesar Mangoes” from Girnar hills of Junagarh in Gujrat, owe their name to their saffron appearance and heavenly taste. It is considered to be the ‘Queen of Mangoes’ as it has renowned flavour. It is one of the varieties that is exported to abroad. “Pairi Mangoes” are another variety from the state which doesn’t keep well, its texture is fibreless and taste is a delightful balance of sugar and acid.
They have mildly spicy aroma. City of Vadodra possess “Vanraj Mangoes” variety of mangoes that are sold in Gujarat. It is typically oval in shape resembling the figure of an egg but slightly larger than it. With its skin sporting a reddish-tint on the upper side, it almost appears as if the rare fruit is blushing.
Kesar, Pairi and Vanraj Mangoes
Dashehri, Chausa and Langra of Uttar Pradesh
Lucknow which is equally famous for its royal mangoes and is widely known for its mango belt of North India. “Dashehri mangoes” are grown here in the land of Nawabs. Yes, its its name from a small village called Dashehari near Malihabad in Lucknow. Another variety comes with the name “Chausa” of Hardoi along with its adjacent regions in Uttar Pradesh. Its name was given by the Sultan of the Muslim Suri empire- Sher Shah Suri.
This variety of mangoes fall under the ‘sucking’ category and are exclusively famous for their yellowish colour and aroma. Then comes the famous city of temples!! Yes, Varanasi which is renowned hotspot for “Langra mangoes”. Natives narrate the tale of a farmer who cultivated this variety of mangoes was lame and thus was born the name, langra.
Dashehri, Chausa and Langra Mangoes
Bombay Green of Punjab
Sadda Punjab is also a hotspot for mango-lovers which is famous for its Bombay Green Mangoes. It is also known by the name “Saroli”. These medium-sized green mangoes, never fail to attract their lovers from distant places.
Bombay Green Mangoes
Kishan Bhog, Himsagar, Nawabpasand, Begumpasand, Fazli and Lakshmanbhog of West Bengal
Another Nawabi city named Murshidabad in West Bengal is famous for its vast variety of delicious mangoes. Well known for types like “Kishan Bhog”, “Himsagar”, “Nawabpasand” and “Begumpasand”. “Lakshmanbhog mangoes” and “Fazli Mangoes” of malda district of the state have the right amount of sweetness. Known for being relatively larger than the other mangoes with lots of pulp, the right amount of sweetness.
Kishan Bhog, Himsagar and Fazli Mangoes
Gulab Khaas of Bihar, West Bengal, and Jharkhand
“Gulab Khaas Mango” has a euphonious name that reminds you of the beauty, grace, and sweetness of a rose. And rightfully so, Gulaab Khaas has a subtle rosy flavour accompanied by a sweetish aroma camouflaged under a blushing pink skin. delectable fruit that exhibits rosy flavour and tastes that mango lovers are bound to love. These are relatively small in size and are sold in abundance in states such as Bihar, West Bengal, and Jharkhand.
Gulab Khaas Mangoes
Badami, Totapuri and Raspuri of Karnataka
“Badami Mangoe” is also called the Karnataka-Alphonso due to its delicious taste. It is found in the northern region of the state. Another gem comes from the electronic city of India. Yes!! it is “Totapuri Mangoes” from Bangalore which are also known as “Bangalora” or “Sandersha mangoes”. If you carefully pay more attention to the name, you’ll realise that there’s a parrot (tota) hidden in its name. It is because the tip of mangoes resembles the beak of a parrot. These are cultivated predominantly in the southern state of Karnataka across Bangalore, Kolar, Ramnagara and more. “Raspuri Mangoes” are another popular variety of mangoes from the state. It can be easily distinguished from other varieties due to its oval shape and its skin which is almost inedible.
Badami, Totapuri and Raspuri Mangoes
Safeda and Neelam of Andhra Pradesh
“Safeda Mangoes” are known by various other names like “Banganpali” or “Benishan Mango”. Sweet juices ooze out of its elliptical yellow body take you to its origin in a small, humble town of Banganapalli, Andhra Pradesh. It is often called as ‘The King of Mangoes in South India’. Another specialty from the land of Andhra Pradesh is distinct variety of “Neelam mangoes”, which have a specific sweet smell and are usually smaller with the mangoes being a bit on the orange side of colour.
Safeda and Neelam Mangoes
Imam Pasand of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
“Imam Pasand Mangoes” are considered to be more of an exclusive because of its unique taste. With soft skin, distinct after-taste and an incredible flavour, Imam Pasand is truly referred as the “King of Mangoes”. This variety is mostly grown in parts of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Imam Pasand Mangoes
Malgoa and Rumani of Tamil Nadu
“Malgoa Mangoes” of Salem, Tamil Nadu, have almost round shape and surprisingly thick skin. Another famous variety there is “Rumani Mangoes” which have greenish-yellow skin that offers splendid flavour and juicy texture.
Malgoa and Rumani Mangoes
Kilichundan of Kerala
“Kilichundan Mangoes” derived its name from the fact that its end resembles the beak of the bird and this is exactly what Kilichundan means in the Malayalam language. There are relatively large sized mangoes famous in various regions of Kerala. Local restaurants and households used this mango to prepare delicious curries and pickles.
Mankurad of Goa
Goa is known for its beaches but I didn’t know that it has famous variety of “Mankurad mangoes”. It has very less fibre, naturally perfectly sweetened and known among Mango connoisseurs to be better than the all-famous Alphonso Mangoes.
Amrapali and Mallika
In 1971 came Amrapali Mangoes are a hybrid between Dasheri and Neelam Mangoes. It has deep red flesh once fully ripe but has a relatively short shelf life compared to other commercial variety of mangoes. Another variety comes with the name of “Mallika Mangoes” which have an exceptional sweetness with tinges of honey, citrus and melon. It is a hybrid between Neelam and Dasheri mangoes.
Amrapali and Mallika Mangoes
With a history as delicious, mangoes make for one of the most popular fruits across the world. In addition to being sumptuous, pulpy and amazing, mangoes also boast an impressive nutritional profile too which gives us the reason to gorge on to this Aam-azing fruit!
Packed with Antioxidants:
As we all know that antioxidants are important as they protect your cells against free radical damage. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that can bind to and damage your cells. Mango contain polyphenolic compound named “mangiferin” that function as antioxidants.The radio protective actions of mangiferin have been confirmed on radiation-induced immunocytes without changing the susceptibility of malignant cells at 2mg/kg concentration.
It is packed with nutrients like vitamin C and A which can help your body produce more disease-fighting white blood cells, help these cells work more effectively and improve your skin’s defenses. Also there are different kinds of carotenoids present in it helps to keep your immunity system healthy and strong. Mangiferin has been considered as a candidate for immuno-regulators. Mango also contains folate, vitamin K, vitamin E and several B vitamins, which aid immunity as well.
Mangoes have high level of vitamin C, pectin anf fibre that help to ower serum cholesterol levels. Also contain magnesium and potassium, which are important component of cell and body fluids, which help maintain a healthy pulse and your blood vessels relax, promoting lower blood pressure levels.
Improve Digestive Health:
Mangoes contain group of digestive enzymes called “amylases” which break down complex carbs into sugars, such as glucose and maltose. Also contains plenty of water and dietary fiber, which help to solve digestive problems like constipation and diarrhea.
Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in mangoes accumulate in the retina of the eye (the part that converts light into brain signals so your brain can interpret what you’re seeing) especially at its core, the macula. These antioxidants absorb the excess light and thus act as a natural sun-blocker. Mangoes are also a good source of vitamin A, which support eye health by preventing vitamin A deficiency that can cause serious issues such as night blindness and corneal scarring.
Mangoes have aphrodisiac qualities and known to increase virility in men. Mangoes are also rich in vitamin E, which helps to regulate sex hormones and boost sex drive.
Mangoes are rich in iron and vitamin C and so are great natural solution for dealing with iron deficiency anaemia. If pregnant and menopausal women eat this, it is good as it not only increases iron level but also the calcium levels at the same time.
Natural Beauty Product:
Mangoes help you to unclog your pores and add freshness to the face. Vitamin C in mangoes is essential for making the protein collagen which gives structure to your skin and hair. It gives your skin its bounce and combats sagging and wrinkles. Vitamin A in mangoes encourages hair growth and the production of sebum — a liquid that helps moisturize your scalp to keep your hair healthy.
Mango is high in polyphenols, which may have anticancer properties. Polyphenols can help protect against oxidative stress, which is linked to many types of cancer. Mangiferin, in mango, has recently gained attention for its promising anticancer effects as it reduced inflammation, protected cells against oxidative stress and either stopped the growth of cancer cells or killed them.
Mango flesh contains prebiotic dietary fibre, which helps feed good bacteria in the gut. Healthy gut is detrimental for a healthy state. Leaky gut, apart from poor digestion results in skin conditions like IBS, asthma, slow metabolism and other health issues.
Summers are here and so are mangoes. So, what are you waiting for, let the digging begin!