Magic of mangoes

Magic of mangoes

Summers compensate for all the discomforts and heat that they bring in their wake with their exotic bounties! Mangoes and summer months are synonyms, with the drupe.

Apart from consuming it in its natural form, different communities and regions have their own mango delicacies. It is versatile and interesting both in its raw and ripe forms. It is used in summer drinks like aam panna and milkshakes, desserts or dips like aam ras, ice creams, salads, chutneys, curries, and in preserves for the year ahead in the form of pickles, jams, squashes, murabbapapadsamchur (a souring agent) etc. The fact that our country accounts for 50% of the world mango production, yet exports only a minuscule amount of it, is a pointer towards the quantity consumed at home!

Belonging to the genus of cashew family Anacardiaceae and indigenous to South Asia, from which the common mango or the Indian mango got distributed, the fruit is cultivated widely in tropical zones.

The fruit is embedded in our cultural, historical and religious lives and folklore. Emperor Akbar is said to have cultivated mangoes extensively in Darbhanga. No auspicious day passes without the doorways being decorated with mango leaves, motifs of mangoes and leaves are common on fabrics, jewellery and buildings.

Nutritional values might differ from species to species, but generally speaking, the fruit is a storehouse of goodness. Apart from some amount of calcium, iron, minerals, potassium, and fibre, it contains vitamins C, K, and A, with a single fruit taking care of the weekly vitamin A requirement. Rich in sugar, it is a good source of energy. The fruit combined with milk is said to induce sleep, while with honey, it is good for skin and memory.

The fruit comes in different shapes, sizes and shades. The evergreen tree is a visual treat, with the long leaves changing colour from orange-pink, to dark glossy red and dark green on maturity!