Come summer and apart from the sweltering heat, the longer days and vacations, it’s also a time for the rich and varied hues of summer fruits to line the roads and supermarkets. “I love mangoes and watermelons. They’re two of my favourite summer fruits and the first indication that summer is here,” says Tanya Joseph.
The smile of satisfaction that arrives when hundreds of watermelons begin to line the streets lasts all the way until mango season is over in June. Both fruits make excellent snacks and lend themselves to a variety of recipes, all of which are excellent ways of keeping cool.
With all the news about artificially ripened mangoes hitting the market, has the sale of mangoes reduced? “Yes,” says a wholesale dealer, “People are purchasing the mango, but the demand has reduced and sales have come down. There are various varieties of mango in the market and the price could be anywhere from Rs.20 to Rs.60 per kg. based on variety and quality.”
As for watermelons, they seem to be an eternal favourite, “It is nearly the end of the watermelon season. The price of the fruit was lowest mid season the current retail price of watermelon is between Rs.8 and Rs.10 per kg.”
With so many varieties of mango and watermelon available in the market, customers are rather spoilt for choice. While buying both the fruits, it is important to ensure that they are of good quality and naturally grown. A good watermelon should be firm, have crisp, juicy flesh and not be dry or stringy. The rind should be firm, hard and spot free. It’s usually deep green and dull. Choose one that’s symmetrical and that is on the heavy side, for after all, 90% of it full of juice. An average watermelon weighs two to three kilos.
With mangoes, once you’ve ensured they are organically grown, you can begin your purchase. Just remember a ripe mango will be slightly soft to the touch and if you don’t plan to eat it right away, a firmer mango is the better choice. Also, trust your nose. Smell is a great indicator of ripeness. Both fruits are most refreshing served cold.
With Facebook groups dedicated to mangoes and watermelons having millions of ‘likes’ each, it certainly looks like the love of summer fruits is here to stay.
Artificially ripened fruit and how to spot them
With officials seizing fruits that have been artificially ripened, and increased awareness of the dangers that such fruit pose to your health, it makes sense to know how to spot fruits that are not naturally ripened.
One of the simplest ways to spot artificially ripened fruit is by colour. Naturally ripened fruits will not uniformly have a single colour, they will be of mixed hues. Also, most artificially ripened fruits have smooth, polished skin. Other hints are if the fruits are available in the market before their actual season. Particularly with mangoes, they should be consumed during season, which is May. The only way of being certain, of course, is by sending it to a lab for testing, but a watchful eye and a cautious purchase never hurts.