It is the month of April and mangoes have made their appearance in Mumbai. India boasts of maximum number of cultivars and varieties of this fruit which can easily claim the title of king of fruits. Its juice is full of sweetness and some varieties have the tinge of sour taste. In Maharasthra, Karnataka and Andhra states the mangoes have developed and green raw fruits are hanging from the branches.
Mangoes are used in innumerable ways. Raw fruits are sour and are used to make drinks which soaks the heat from the body nd cools you in the simmering heat. They are used to make chutneys. I remember in North India invariably the chutneys is an inseparable part of the dinners in the summer. It is so tasteful that you don’t need any curry or other vegetables with the rotis. Then raw mangoes are cut into fine pieces and dried in the sun and when they become completely dry, they are converted into powder and it makes a substitute for tomatoes. The gardens of mangoes trees are the source of attraction for the young children who are ready to take any risks to obtain the fruit. Parrots also gorge on them.
The most cherished variety of mangoes is the Alphonso or Hapoos as it is called in Maharasthra. It is famous for its sweetness and flavors. The fruits got its name after Afonso de Albuquerque who used to bring the fruit from Latin America. Only problem with the fruit is its short life span. It is most expensive. The taste and quality varies from North of Maharasthra coast towards South. Most exquisite variety is grown only in about 20 square miles stretch in Sindhudurg District in an area called Devgarh which is famous for beautiful beaches, forts constructed by many kings who ruled the place like Shiavji and Angres.
The mangoes are mostly exported. These are available throughout Maharashtra. The vendors will set up their shops for this fruit only and sell them in cartons and loose. Generally the rate is based per mango which is about 200 grams. One mango generally costs between 15-25 rupees. The fruits will be available only till the rains doe not commence. After this the mango season is over as far as Maharashtra.
Up in the north India, the mango season starts late and goes well into the rainy season. The Sahranpur and Malihabad belt is famous for very sweet, luscious varieties of mangoes. Among them the pride place goes to Dussheri. It is very sweet and mostly sucked with its cover acting like a shield. Many a times though, if the mango is too ripe, the cover can rupture spilling the juice on to your clothes.