Only a few things in this world are loved by one and all, such as rainbows, unicorns, and mangoes. Garnering such universal adoration is no mean feat, but then again, mango isn’t called the King of Fruits without reason. Pampering us from April through August, this delectable fruit has us spoilt for choice with its more than 1,000 different varieties.
Taking its title seriously, the versatile fruit doesn’t stop there and allows us to share the love by being a part of different delicacies; be it pickles, jams, aam panna, cheesecakes, mango rice, ice cream, smoothies, panna cotta, salads, and many more. Though we have to admit, biting into a ripe mango with its juice dripping down our fingers beats all else!
Come summer and one daily task is to decide which mango to feast on. While all of us are guilty of tucking into more than our share of mangoes, we usually do so without knowing what kind of mango are we eating. You’ve probably polished off these treats without knowing what it was this season too! This year, DSSC makes it easier for you – use our guide to get closer to your beloved mango and learn all its attributes, and not recognise it just by size or colour!
As you make the most of the last leg of mango season, bid farewell to the fruit with your new found wisdom, found right here:
One of the most popular varieties, the Alphonso brings a near perfect blend of sweet and tangy on our tastebuds. Also called ‘hapoos’, it has a sunny yellow skin, with a blush at the top. A beautiful saffron in colour, the inside flesh is fibreless and firm, ensuring a rich creamy pulp. Often contested as the King of mangoes, it is most famously cultivated in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, and also in Gujarat and Karnataka. The medium-sized alphonso looks spherical, and can be savoured from May to June.
Safeda or Banganapalli
Next in line is the Safeda. This large-sized fruit has a uniquely thin, maize yellow skin and comes in an oblique and oval shape. Popularly known as the Banganapalli (Began Phali) in the southern states, it offers a sweet taste with tiny busts of sourness in between. Named after the town of Banganapalle in Andhra Pradesh, most of the fruit is sourced from the state. Like the Alphonso, this too offers a fibreless pulp. Dig into this juicy mango from March through August!
Langra: Stevie’s Fave
Taking us back to simpler times, when taking offence didn’t exist as a hobby, the Langra mango is said to have been named so after the original tree owner, who was lame (disabled). The mother tree is still known to exist in Varanasi, and has sprouted several other varieties of mangoes over the years. Grown in Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring areas, the Langra is medium-sized and oval in shape. A greenish-yellow cover and lemon-yellow flesh, this fruit has little fibre and is one of the sweetest varieties around. We can see why it’s one of the most popular mangoes in the North! You can get in on the action in July and August.
From how it got its name, its taste, the many varieties it gave birth to- it all adds up to the Langra being Stevie’s favourite! It never lacks in availability (we’re talking Delhi), and so, helps us feed those mango pangs at any time- and that’s exactly how a mango becomes stevie’s special!
One of the sweetest mangoes, the Chausa is cultivated across all of North India. With its bright golden-yellow skin and nectar-like pulp, it pleases palates wherever it goes. Rumour has it that it originated almost 500 years back, and was christened by the emperor Sher Shah Suri after his victory over Humayun. The medium-sized, oblong mango can be devoured from July till August. Available at the moment, we recommend you fill up those mugs with mango shake all-day-everyday while it lasts!
You probably find your favourite in the ‘chusne wala aam’, after all it is the most fun to eat! No slicing, no chopping, just rip off the top and suck on this succulent mango. It has a green skin with a slight yellow tinge which unravels a yellow-orange, juicy pulp. Sweet in taste, it’s one of the oldest varieties of mangoes and calls Malihabad, Uttar Pradesh its home. You can smell this medium-sized mango from far, courtesy its strong, rich aroma. We hear superior self control is needed if you wish to stop at just one Dussehri. Dig into it in June and July!
Green in colour, with a splash of red, and a pointed beak like a parrot’s, this mango is aptly named ‘Totapuri’. Cultivated down south, in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, this mango is unlike the rest, bringing a tangy and sour taste to the table. Not typically sweet, it is commonly relished with salt and chilli powder, and used in salads, pickles and preserves. Bite into this crunchy mango in the months of June and July.
Attracting mango maniacs with its intense aroma, the Kesar is a lust-worthy fruit with its saffron coloured skin and, sweet and fibreless pulp. With a perfect marriage of sweetness and acid, this mango is popular in Gujarat for making aamras. It is also the go-to mango for whipping up dishes and delicacies. Majorly produced in Gujarat, this medium-sized, oblong mango can be enjoyed from May through July.
The underdog of mangoes, Himsagar comes with a smooth and creamy flesh, enhanced by its vivid fragrance. The melt-in-mouth pulp is covered by a thin, green skin. Apart from being eaten as is, its great for shakes and desserts as well. This medium-sized, almost round mango is most famously cultivated in West Bengal. Making a guest appearance only for the month of May, it’s best to get your hands on the Himsagar while it lasts!
With the rare quality of being grown all through the country, the Neelam from Hyderabad is particularly famous. Tiny in size and yellow-reddish in colour, these oblong mangoes have an orange pulp, and give off a distinctive floral scent. Though they keep coming in throughout the season, the best ones are to be found in June. Alternatively, get a taste of the Neelam from May through July.
Encased in a pastel yellow with a pretty splash of red, the Gulaab Khaas derives its name from the rosy aroma and taste offered by it. This small to medium-sized mango is Bihar’s gift to the country. Another popular choice for making desserts, it’s non-fibrous and can be had from May until July.
Next time you decide to lay your hands on these beauties, identify them like a boss!
And here are two lip-smacking mango relish recipes to give you a headstart to becoming the Mango connoisseur!
Cover image credits: cntraveller.in