Mango-The King of Fruits

Whenever we think of summer, the name of the first fruit that come to our mind is 'Mango'. The delicious mango; something juicy and yellow, something sweet and a bit sour, something we all-young and old- love to eat. Yes, mango is truly called the 'King of Fruits'. It is also the National Fruit of our country.

Mango is one of the most delicious tropical seasonal fruits. Mango is believed to be originated in the sub-Himalayan plains of Indian subcontinent. Mango is a nutritionally rich fruit with unique flavour, fragrance, taste, and heath promoting qualities. The scientific name of mango is Mangifera Indica.

Botanically, this exotic fruit Mango belongs to the family of Anacardiaceae, a family which also includes numerous species of tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plants such as cashew, pistachio etc.

The name of mango is almost synonyms to the name of India. Thousands of years ago, mangoes grew only in Eastern India and Burma. Now mangoes are grown in many hot countries.

In India, the Mughals were the first to grow mango as a crop. The great Mughals were fond of mangoes. They grew many kinds of tasty mangoes. According to Babur, the founder of the Mughal emperor in India, mango was the best fruit of India. Akbar planted an orchard of one lakh trees in Bihar. Shah Jahan had posted soldiers specially to guard his favourite Mango trees in the Deccan! The emperors and nobles of those days presented each other with the best mangoes in their groves.

The Jesuit priests of Goa also developed many new varieties of mangoes. They were the ones to grow the wonderful Alphonso that we enjoy today.
Mangoes grow on trees. Mango trees are evergreen trees. A mango tree can grow up to 60 feet tall. Mango trees need hot, dry periods to give a good crop. In India one can get the best varieties of mangoes in the summer. Some varieties ripen just after summer, during the monsoons.

The mango tree bears fruit four to six years after planting. The fruit can be golden yellow, green or deep red. The flesh of the fruit is usually a deep orangish yellow. It is sweet and juicy with a most delicious flavour. The fruit has a single large seed inside it.

With the onset of the spring, the mango tree bursts into flower. The pale yellow blossoms cover the branches of the trees. They look so pretty! They form part of our various religious performances, particularly the Vashant Utsava (Saraswati Puja).

In early summer, tiny raw mangoes appear. They are dark green in colour and very sour in taste. As it grows hotter, the mangoes begin to ripen. When it gets really hot, the mangoes ripen into golden yellow, juicy fruits.

Mangoes are rich in vitamins and minerals. People all over the world eat more mangoes than any other fresh fruit. Various tasty preparations like pickles, jams, juices and candies etc. are made from mangoes. we are really lucky to be living in a hot country where mangoes are found in lots of varieties and tastes.

The mango has a beautiful shape. Often, this shape can be seen on old paintings, sculptures, saris and other clothes.

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