Well, summer is not only about heatwaves, sunburns, sweating and cursing everyone from politicians to Mother Nature for not hurrying the rains, but it is the season when we lose our taste-buds to the likes of Alphonso, Dasheri, Himsagar, Kishen Bhog, Langra, Fazli, Gulabkhas and Amrapalli.
There is hardly a person in India whose mouth does not water in the name of mangoes. It is the King of Fruits which gives us some respite to the long and tiring sun-roasted days of summer.
Ripe mango in itself is considered heaven “fructified”. Besides, Indians being foodies by birth have a long list of mango recipes like mango lassi, chutneys, pickles, curries, shakes, aam raas, mango kheer, mango shrikhand, mango ice-cream and mango cheese-cake, among a hundred others.
While you get busy bargaining with your fruit-seller over mango prices, let us bring to you 10 interesting facts about the pulpy fruit:
1. Did you know mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, while the mango tree is the national tree of Bangladesh?
2. As per Indian history, Mughal emperor Akbar (1556–1605 AD) was so fond of mangoes that he planted 100,000 mango trees at his Lakhi Bagh orchard located at Darbhanga in Bihar.
3. India first cultivated mangoes over 5,000 years ago.
4. Mango is considered as a fruit of attainment and is offered to Lord Ganesha symbolizing a devotee’s potential perfection towards his devotion.
5. Legend has it that an evil sorceress set the sun princess on fire and a mango tree grew from her ashes.
An emperor fell in love with the mango flower and then the fruit.
When the fruit ripened and fell on the ground, it became the sun princess. Then on, mango is also seen as a fruit of love and offering a basket of mangoes in India is seen as a gesture of friendship.
6. According to Wikipedia, a mango tree can bear fruit even at a ripe, old age of 300 years!
7. As per mango.org, by consuming a mango a day, your daily requirement of Vitamin C is met 100%, Vitamin A 35% and fiber 12%.
8. In Tamil Nadu, mango is considered as one of the Three Royal Fruits (Mukkani), the other two being banana and jackfruit.
9. The Sydney Markets Foundation and the Australian Mango Industry Association team up every year to auction off the first tray of mangoes of the season for charity.
10. India has developed the popular paisley pattern on shawls, paintings and ornaments inspired by the shape of the mango, claims mango.org.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.