Mangoes: The Measure of a Summer Well Spent

Since May, BO has come across numerous lists on fast internet publications titled “Summer Bucketlist”, “Things to do this Summer”, “Summer To Do List”, “Plan Fun Activities for this Summer” and the like. They were mostly written by and geared towards people living in cooler countries where Summers are the only time when the sun shines down, and it’s warm enough to go out to the park. BO lives in a hot, sticky, tropical country. People here wait for the winters (well, not BO on account of feeling grossly inadequate in body heat generation capabilities and being constantly cold in the winters). Summers are for being indoors, doors shut, air conditioning on. And for one more very special thing. MANGOES.

BO measures the success of any summer by the metric of how many types of mangoes she got to enjoy. Listing here are the current favourites (and ones that have been well enjoyed this season).

Alphonso Mango – The perfect mango for Milkshakes & Aam Ras

Alphonso mango is the mango that first comes to the shops in Delhi. You can find it at fancy places like Foodhall and this year BO’s online vegetable vendor (Everything Organik) carried lots of lovely fresh and organic Alphonso mangoes.

BO LOVES alphonso mangoes in the form of aam ras (with a bit of milk), and in milkshakes. To say an alphonso mango milkshake is DIVINE is an understatement. Thick, creamy, fragrant, and refreshing at the same time. PERFECT.

Unfortunately Alphonso mangoes cost quite the bomb, and there’s only so much milkshake one can have before it starts showing on the, ahem, weighing scale.

During early May, many Alphonso milkshakes were had, and thoroughly enjoyed. Total success.

Safeda Mango – The Perfectly Delicious Filler Mango

BO considers the Safeda as the “filler mango”. It’s nothing great by itself, but it’s a great mango to stay your mango-hungry stomach while awaiting the arrival of Dussheri. Safeda mango comes in pretty much with Alphonso, but once you’re done with your Alphonso phase, you can swiftly fly by a couple of weeks with Safeda. BO enjoys these cut up into pieces. They don’t have quite carry that oomph that a milkshake mango needs (like the Alphonso), and milkshakes with Safeda don’t quite turn out as thick, creamy or fragrant. Cut up, perfectly acceptable & yummy. And hey, they’re still lightyears better than cut up apples (yurgh).

Amrapali Mango – A sweet little gem of a Mango

One of the little known mangoes, but a lovely, fragrant and unique variety. BO loves the perfect size of Amrapali mangoes – big enough to fill you up when eaten as a snack, but also perfectly small enough to be had as a dessert post lunch. The yummy fragrance of Amrapali mangoes, and their non-fibrous juciness makes them perfect for enjoyment as is. You do have to be careful while picking out Amrapali mangoes, and make sure they are ripe enough. They seem underripe for ages and quickly go bad after ripening to perfection. Amrapali mangoes feel a bit like avocados in that they are perfectly perfect for a short window of time. You do have to wait patiently until end of May and June to find fresh & ripe Amrapali mangoes (if at all!). They are quite common in Bhubaneswar, but not to be found easily in Delhi. Y’s late grandmother’s house has a lovely Amrapali mango tree from which bucket loads of Amrapali mangoes were enjoyed a few summers back. Blissful!

Dussheri Mango – The safest & sweetest of them all

The safest mango of them all! Sweet, super juicy, not fibrous, lots of fragrance and flavour. These are probably most Indians’ favourite mangoes. They also stay in a perfect state of ripeness for quite a while, making them easy to store and enjoy. The quintessential June mango.

Langda Mango – Delicate balance of tartness, fragrance and sweetness

Langda mango is Y’s favourite. Of course, anything that has the potential to be tart is Y’s favourite. BO also likes Langda mangoes but only when they are properly ripe and sweet. In that state, they achieve that perfect delicate balance of mango-ey fragrance, sweetness and just a hint of tartness. The tartness ends up lending more strength of the sweet notes in the mango. The only downside of Langda mangoes is that they are a bit fibrous which can get annoying when those strands of fibre get stuck in your teeth. Langdas hit the market in July and are perfect to stay your stomach while you await the delightful….

Chausa Mango – The one which makes it hard to say goodbye to Mangoes

Chausa mangoes are pretty much BO’s favourite mangoes to eat as is, and is totally up there with Alphonso mangoes when it comes to Overall Mango Rankings. They start coming in mid-July, so you have to eagerly anticipate their arrival. Many a trip to the super market is loaded with excitement, in quiet excitement over the arrival of Chausa mangoes. Repeated questions are asked of the fruit-wala, much to his annoyance, about when would Chausa mangoes make landfall in Delhi. Quiet, eager eyes glance through heaps of Safeda, Langda and Dussheri, in search of the elusive Chausa. When they finally arrive, it’s time to stock up!!!! And enjoy them!!! Because these are pretty much the last (and the BEST!!) mangoes each summer. High levels of mango picking skills are not necessary for picking out good Chausa mangoes. 99% of chausas will be lovely, ripe, sweet, fragrant and delicious. Guaranteed.

Speaking of Mango Picking Skills, that is for another post, another time. BO feels that MPS is no less than Wine Tasting Skills. You need to use your senses of sight, smell and touch to properly pick the right mangoes, and once it’s yours, TASTE TASTE TASTE 😀

Update 18th July 2019: Last Sunday (a couple of days after writing this post), I received a little batch of Amrapali mangoes from Y’s mum! Talk about serendipity! Here’s how they look:

Amrapali mango
Amrapali mango

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