Mango or the Mangifera Indica was introduced in the country by the Portuguese in the 15th century and India, today, is the largest producer of mangoes, contributing to more than 50% of the world’s total mango production.
Health benefits of mangoes
Apart from being simply delicious, pulpy and with unique flavours, mangoes are also a nutritionally rich fruit. They are rich in potassium, magnesium and vitamins like vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin E. Mangoes are especially beneficial as a remedy for high blood pressure and are packed with antioxidants that can prevent heart diseases, premature ageing and cancer.
You’ll also be surprised to know that mangoes are known to reduce or lower cholesterol due to the high amount of fibre and vitamin C present in the them.
Varieties of mangoes in India
1. Alphonso, Maharashtra
This world famous variety is named after Afonso de Albuquerque, who was a general in the Portuguese army and helped in establishing the Portuguese colony in the country. This is a widely consumed mango in India. Known for its unique sweet and rich taste, the Alphonso mango is grown in Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Devgarh and Raigad districts of Maharashtra. Also known as Hapus in India, it is the most expensive variety of mango found. The Alphonso mango can be easily recognised by its unique fragrance, saffron-coloured skin with a tinge of red and its oval shape.
2. Moovandan, Kerala
Moovandan, a common mango of Kerala, takes three years for its tree to blossom. Moovandan got its name from 'Moonu' meaning three and 'aandu' meaning year. It's sour and sweet and is used to prepare varieties of dishes especially pickles and chutneys. You will find most of the Keralites having the nearly-ripe moovandans with salt and chilli powder.
3. Kesar, Gujarat
The Kesar mango gets its name from its saffron-coloured pulp. It was first grown by the Junagadh Wazir, Sale Bhai in Vanthali in 1931. And is now grown in the Girnar hills of Junagadh in Gujarat. It is commonly found from May till July. This variety is sought after for desserts and other Indian cooking. The Kesar can easily be identified because of its smell, which is similar to that of saffron, its yellow skin with a tinge of green and its round shape.
4. Dasheri, Uttar Pradesh
The Dasheri mango is grown in Lucknow and Mallihabad in Uttar Pradesh. The name Dasheri comes from the Dasheri village near Kakori, UP where the 200-year-old Dasheri mother plant still exists and bears fruit every alternate year. The mother plant belonged to the orchards of Late Mohammed Ansari Zaidi and is now looked after by his descendants. The Dasheri mango can be easily distinguished from others because of its green skin, unique taste and elongated shape.
5. Himsagar, West Bengal
The Himsagar originates from the Murshidabad district of West Bengal. Like the Alphonso, owing to its unique taste and aroma, this variety of mangoes is popular for exports. The Himsagar, also known as Khirsapati, is a medium-sized, ripe green coloured mango with bright yellow pulp. The Himsagar works well for making desserts and shakes because of its creamy pulp.
6. Chausa, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
The Chausa is grown in the Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh and also in Bihar. Found only in July and August, chausas are famously known as the ‘sucking’ variety of mango, are yellowish in colour and exude a heady aroma. The Chausa originated in the Multan province of Punjab, now known as Pakistan and popularised by Emperor Sher Shah Suri. Sher Shah Suri while commemorating his victory over Humayun at Chausa in Bihar gave his favourite mango the same name as the city. A unique story of a truly unique mango!
7. Badami, North Karnataka
The Badami mango is also known as the Alphonso of Karnataka because of its similar characteristics to that of the Alphonso mango. It is, as its name suggests, grown in the Badami region of Karnataka and commonly found from May till July. The Badami can easily be distinguished because of its attractive yellow and orange colour flesh and its bright yellow skin with a tinge of red.
8. Safeda, Andhra Pradesh
The Safeda is also known as the Banganpali or the Benishan mango and is grown in the town of Banganpalle in Andhra Pradesh. The Safeda is also referred to as the ‘king of mangoes’ in South India as the mango is much larger and fleshier than other variants. The Safeda or Baganpali is said to have been the fruit of choice for the nawabs of Andhra Pradesh and other southern royalty. Found from April till June, Safeda mangoes are bright yellow with a few black spots, larger than most mangoes and are oval in shape.
9. Langra, Uttar Pradesh
The Langra is grown in the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and is found in June and July. The Langra is a small-sized oval-shaped mango that has a lime-green skin colour and a delicious sweet-acidic taste. The mango was named Langra (lame) because it was first found in the orchard of a lame farmer in Varanasi.
10. Totapuri, Karnataka
Also known as Sandersha mangoes, the Totapuri is grown in the city of Bangalore in Karnataka and is found from May till July. They are medium-sized, greenish-yellow mangoes with a tinge of red. The mango is known as Totapuri, as its shape resembles the beak of a parrot. Unlike the other variants, the flesh of the Totapuri is not so sweet and hence is mostly used for salads and pickles.
11. Mulgoba, Tamil Nadu
Mulgoba, also known as Malgoa, is grown in the Salem region of Tamil Nadu. The Mulgoba mango is a small-sized, round mango with a very thick skin. It is found in July and August and is sought after for its sweet, rich pulp and taste. The mango can be identified by its yellow-green colour and tinge of red, it is considered to be one of the best albeit underrated mangoes in the country.
These are just some of the varieties mentioned out of the 30+ variants produced in India….no wonder the mango is the national fruit of our country!
So, the next time that you are out shopping for mangoes, look for some of these popular variants apart from the locally grown ones and let us know which out of them is your favourite!