First Mangoes

2:39 PM

ripe and freshly cut alphonso mangoes

The real mango season in Mumbai kicks off in April. And today, we had our first of the season for breakfast.
Some of you might wonder why I said April when Alphonsoes have bee on the market for a solid month already.
That is when you'll notice I said the REAL season. Alphonsoes have become so ridiculously popular that the demand has pushed farmers and distributors to pluck them off the trees early, and then ripen them artificially for all those who just can't wait.

I am not one of these. First because the March bulk of not so ready to eat fruits taste odd, and then because they are outrageously pricy for such a substandard fruit.
To be fair I was all for delaying buying some another week or two. But, Ishita could really no longer wait begged for some. And, with the season for all the other Winter fruits reaching an end, there wasn't much to distract her from the king of fruit.
Fortunately, these looked healthy and were tasty enough (but would probably be better toward the end of the month).

Mangoes in India are inevitably associated with Summer. This is pretty much the only local and in season fruit you will find around at this time of the year. And, India grows over 200 varieties of Mangoes. in Mumbai, the king of the kings is the Alphonso. One variety I find myself a bit divided upon.
Is it good? Definitely. Is it the best? Not so sure. I enjoyed Malika mangoes in Bangalore a great deal more than Alphonsoes to be fair. Alphonsoes, as good as they are seem to be a bit over rated to me. They have been made the poster boys of Mangoes by default.

That said, mangoes, regardless of their varieties are THE fruit that will make Summer bearable. Their only drawback is that they are a bit of a pain to cut and eat.
I like mine straight from the fridge and eaten as is, DH likes his in mango shakes, Ishita will eat them just because they are mangoes, and my dog begs for the peels. The only one we haven't gotten on board is my cat. But cats are known food snobs anyway...

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  1. Anonymous2:49 PM

    Haha. I don't understand the craziness of Alphonso. I've tasted better ones than that. In our house we don't even consider buying mangoes until May. Ppl think we are crazy. In fact sometimes I feel it is useless to even explain. :)

  2. I think the reason alphonsoes are hyped so much is that they are usually the first variety that gets ripe and can hit the market. But they are tiny, and there isn't much flesh on them. All the other mango varieties come in late April or May, not before. But Mumbai stays googoo gaga on alphonsoes

  3. Forget Summer, it's the Monsoon that is unbearable.
    I'm not that fond of Alphonsos because they're overly sweet for my palate. I prefer a bit of tart/sourness to balance the sweetness of a mango.
    The local mangoes that come up from the Terai here are much tastier (the Terai of Nepal is really northern Bihar) but don't ripen until June.
    When they ship mangoes from farther south like Nagpur & such to Nepal they're often so bruised, beaten up & overpriced I don't bother to buy them.

    1. In Mumbai as wet an annoying the monsoon can become it is a huge relief when it finally comes. Because we've been drinking the air and steaming away for 3 months straight.
      I don't remember which variety of mango we get from my in-laws, but they also come in June and rarely before and have a far more balanced taste. As you said Alphonsoes are way too sweet, they will do when there is nothing else, but if I have a choice, they are definitely not the mangoes I will choose.

  4. Anonymous6:46 AM

    There's a lot to be said for buying vegetables and fruit in season. There were strawberries available here all winter, but they were tasteless and not even ripe with a big white area at the stem. It has really turned me off to strawberries. I don't like mangoes, but I know what it's like to wait for a fruit or veggie to come into season. Susan

    1. Strawberries are in season from November to March in India, so for us it is a winter fruit and they really are at their peak in December and January. You still find them now in April but they are really tasting bitter.
      I don't think I ever saw Strawberries in the Winter when I was in Switzerland, but there were a lot of out of season fruits. The price was the ultimate repellant, they were so ridiculously overpriced that few would bother. And I am sure the taste wasn't even up to par.

  5. Anonymous10:59 AM

    The traditional way of eating mangoes is to put them in a tub full of water. It is believed that it absorbs the heat of the mangoes. The children then sit around picking the mangoes and gently suck them. If you eat mangoes more, you get heat rash on your nose. In our house mangoes were bit of dilemma my mother being a diabetic. She did have them though. I am not too fond of mango shakes because it is too heavy.

    This is a unique mango ice cream


    1. DH loves mangoes, and he never had that heat rash thing. And he doesn't put them in water or anything. I eat them regularly come Summer, and I never had any problem either,
      I wonder if it is related to that old wives tale about not eating mangoes while pregnant. A notion my doctor and the doctor giving us birthing classes told us held no scientific ground whatsoever. What I remember was being heavily pregnant in the heat of Summer and gorging myself on mangoes without feeling sick, or different or anything :-)

      I don't like mango shake, but this is because ai am really not a big fan of milk to begin with. I've never been much of a milk drinker and the mangoes just makes it heavier to me.

    2. I had to google that heat rash thing, and it is a MYTH
      Some people develop a rash when touching the skin of the mango because it contains an oil that is an allergen and can cause some very sensitive people to break out, but it is not a heat rash as such, and not all people are that sensitive as to develop such a rash. Because allergic rashes look like a heat rash people have commonly though it to be a heat rash induced by the fruit and the fact Summer is around.

      I read a few articles and none supported the claim that it is a heat response. Here is one of the article that was the clearer about it :

      All article also point that sensitive people should not come in contact with the peel and can eat the fruit just fine and without problem if someone peel it for them

    3. Anonymous12:19 PM

      Interestingly, while ripe mangoes are said to cause heat, a drink of raw mangoes called "Aam Panna" is popular for reducing the effect of heat stoke. It cools down the body and replenishes the salt that is lost due to perspiration.


    4. I think the myth that mango cause heat comes from that allergic reaction. The sap of the fruit contains an oil that is known to cause irritation the skin, and this very same oil is present in lesser amount in the skin. It seems mango farmers are the most at risk because they come in contact with the sap of the tree. The boils are a reaction to the oil and has nothing to do with heat, but being in the sun and sweating makes the rash more painful which is probably where the idea that the fruit induce heat in the body and gives heat rashes come from.

      My allergist in Switzerland also once explained to me that certain plant extract reacts to the sunlight and if on the skin can cause terrible reactions even if the person isn't truely allergic in the deep sense of the medical term.


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