Saturday, July 11, 2009


Friends I am sorry I have been away for long due to some personal commitments. Its Monsoon time here in India. We are all eagerly awaiting rains after a very hot summer. But the amount of rainfall is not very encouraging so far. Our farmers are really worried as it is very late already for them to go in for their farming activities. I hope and pray that Monsoons really give the required amount of rainfall or else we will have no food at all.
But the climate now is very pleasant. Skies cloudy, drizzling slightly now and then. Ahh isn't it a blessing from the Heavens to the Mother Earth, parched after a long hot summer...
Mother Nature is slowly springing into life with beautiful lively green leaves and colourful flowers, bird calls..Hmmm I love this. I love Monsoons in India. They are celebration of life....

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mango-The King Of Fruits

King of Fruits-Golden Yellow

Mango no doubt is the King of fruits. Its is quite popular with everyone and I don't think there is any one who does not like this fruit.The word mango comes from the Malayalam word"Manga". However the origin of the -o ending word "Mango" in English is unclear. Its called as "Aam" in Hindi and "Mamidi" in Telugu.

Yummy yummy Yellows and Golden Greens

The mango is indigenous to the Indian Subcontinent. It is Cultivated in many tropical regions and distributed across the world, mango is one of the most extensively used fruits for food, juice, flavor, fragrance and color, making it a common ingredient in new functional foods often called super fruits.

The mango is believed to be originated in Southeast Asia where it has been grown for over 4,000 years. Over the years mango groves have spread to many parts of the tropical and sub-tropical world, where the climate allows the mango to grow its best.

Alphonso- costliest ones and Rows of Greens N Yellows

Mango trees are evergreens which will grow up to 60 feet tall. It will fruit 4 to 6 years after planting. It requires hot, dry periods to set and produce a good crop. I was amazed that there are over 1,000 different varieties of mangoes throughout the world.

And the smell of the flowers...hmmmm. I cant describe the smell. I just love it. I associate the smell with summertime warm and happy. The moment the mango tree starts to flower, we have the koel-a cuckoo like bird black in colour with crimson eyes but with sweet voice. In spring time we can hear the males calling for mates-ku-oo ...ku-oooo. When we answer them they keep on cooing and come in search of us. As a child it was one of my favorite past times to keep calling to the koels. I used to think at least I knew one of the birds language. Well any way it is believed that koels eat the young shoots or leaves of the mango and get such beautiful voice.

The green leaves are used to decorate doorways on auspicious functions and also used in religious functions. The green colour is symbol of prosperity and auspicious .

Raw mangoes are used for making various dishes like Pulihora (sour rice), chutneys, panna (juice) and of course pickles. My state of Andhra is very famous for pickles especially mango. In India they use a sour mango powder containing powdered dried up green mangoes called "Amchoor", both as a seasoning and as tenderising agent. But through out India mangoes are pickled which differ in taste and variety. Any way I will write on this separately.

Off season-fruits through out year and Me pickling raw mangoes

Dried raw mango pieces and powder

Talking about the fruits, they arrive by mid April. They are sweet smelling, very delicious, rich in vitamins like A and C minerals anti-oxidants and have medicinal properties. They also contain an enzyme with stomach soothing properties similar to papain found in papayas.

Reds n Yellows
The colour of the fruit can be greens, oranges yellows and reds and a combination of these. Its is really a feast for the eyes. I just love these various coloured mangoes. Sizes also differ, round, long, small, oval and also the smell. The most expensive is supposed to be the "Alfonso" variety.

Reds, Greens, Yellows and Oranges- Colours of Nature

Basically there are three varieties. One which are sweet and sour and crunchy and can be eaten as slices when semi ripened, one that can be served as cut fruit or used in salads and decorations when ripe and the one which is juicy when ripe.

The Bigger ones

The king sized ones

Smallest ones in the show

Mango fruit is eaten, as slices, used in ice creams, or juice is extracted and consumed directly or used in making squashes, jams and sweets . Eating a juicy mango fruit with out spilling a drop is an art itself.We eat fruit in the afternoons like a snack to beat the heat. In the night it is just rice with buttermilk and a mango. Sometimes, its a meal by itself.No feast served in marriages or other functions at this time is complete without mangoes. Its is very popular with young and old alike.

The juiciest ones

Squashes, jams pickles and other products made with mangoes

"Aam papad" in Hindi or "Mamidi Tandra" in Telugu or mango jelly is made out of juice of ripened mangoes. There are two varieties- one is the sweet and sour one of North India which is black in colour. It is eaten with black salt and cumin powder. The other is the golden yellow coloured which is sweet in taste. I still remember how my granny used to make this by mixing mango juice of over ripened fruits with sugar or jaggery and pouring it on bamboo mats as a layer. This is dried in sun and once it sets in it is smeared with a little ghee (clarified butter) and another layer is poured. This continues until the desired thickness is reached. This takes a long time till it dries completely. One more thing is the menace from the monkeys. We as children used to sit under the tress with sticks guarding the jelly from monkeys. But in the process steal and taste some it ourselves.

Mango jelly

I am sharing with you some of the pictures I took at the mango exhibition. Hope u enjoy them.

Noting down seriously Rows of Yellows n Greens

of fruits and Grafts with fruits

People visiting the stalls selling Mangoes n products made from Mangoes

I visited the exhibition on mangoes. I could only spend half an hour there as I had to rush back home. It was a cool evening just after a down pour, so very enjoyable. I saw a father who brought his children and educating them about each type and variety, senior citizens, youngsters, ladies, farmers - all viewing the exhibition and educating them selves from their own perspective. I felt nice to know that in this age of IT there are people like us who like to know about such things.