KOLKATA, 6 JULY
India is a land of mangoes and contributes a whopping fifty percent of the world’s total production. It is also the country’s national fruit.
From famous Urdu Poet, Mirza Ghalib to present day celebrity chef Gordom Ramsay, the long list of mango aficionados were spoiled for a choice with over 1500 varieties , which are grown in India.
Even legend has it that Gautama Buddha was presented with a mango grove so he could rest under the shady trees.
It was during the Mughal empire that the cultivation of the varieties like Totapuri, Rataul and Kesar began. UP is the largest producer of mango in India.
The famous Persian poet Amir Khusrau called the mango- Naghza Tarin Mewa Hindustan, the fairest fruit of Hindustan.
But it was the Kohitur Mango of Murshidabad which is still the most sought variety developed during the period of last nawab of Bengal, Siraj – ud- Daulah.
Mango got its name from Malayalam word mangga and has a history of over 5000 years old.
Alphonso , cultivated by the Portuguese in Goa is also very famous and popular due to its taste.
With immense nutritional value it is loaded with vitamin A, C, E and K, and vitamin B1 to B6 and B9 and carbohydrates etc.
“Ask me, for what do you know?/ A mango is far sweeter than sugar cane/ Perhaps from the great heights above the gardeners of heaven’s orchards/ have sent by the order of God/ brimful of wine filled in sealed glasses,” describes Ghalib in his verse.
But the costly Japanese variety of Miyazaki are attracting the connoisseurs of mango these days . First introduced to Japan during the Meiji Period (1868 – 1912), full-blown cultivation of this fruit started around 1970. Its creamy texture, fragrant flavor, and juicy flesh are extremely popular in Japan. However, the rich sweetness of Miyazaki mangoes will blow you away with its unforgettable flavor compared to the conventional mango.
Fruit production has always been abundant in Miyazaki because of its warm weather and long hours of sunlight combined with the perfect amount of rainfall. Miyazaki was always one of the top producers of
fruit in Japan,
The highest quality standard of Miyazaki mango is branded and sold as Taiyo-no-Tamago (Eggs of Sunshine). These mangoes must be over 350g in weight, have a 15% or higher sugar content, and be perfectly colored and shaped. This name was chosen because Miyazaki Prefecture is known for its sunshine, combined with the fact that the mangoes are flaming red and their shape looks like dinosaur eggs. They are popular as a gift for special occasions or as a special treat. Miyazaki mangoes are only available between April and August but the majority of mangoes are sold during May and June, making this the best time to enjoy Miyazaki mangoes including Taiyo-no-Tamago (Eggs of Sunshine) at a more reasonable price.
Today, the bright red coloured ripe mango of Japan is the costliest variety in the world and sold at Rs.2.70 lakhs per kilogram abroad. Though in India the price is between Rs.2500 to Rs.3000 per kilogram. The ripe fruit is wrapped in cotton clothes inside boxes .
A farmer based in Jabalpur of Madhya Pradesh in India has already created ripples in the country by cultivating this variety in his roadside orchard. He had collected the saplings from Tamil Nadu.
It takes about three years for the plants to bear fruits and due to the growing popularity of Miyazaki mango, the various online e-commerce companies are selling its saplings.