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Mango lovers asked to guard against artificially ripened fruit

PTI Pune | Updated on March 30, 2013

As mangoes start trickling in markets in the mid-summer heat, lovers of the tropical fruit have been advised to be on the look out for the distinct aroma and wrinkle-free texture to identify naturally ripened Alphonso variety.

It has of late become customary in Maharashtra to come across Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raids on traders selling mangoes artificially ripened by using the banned chemical agent, calcium carbide -- a known health hazard.

According to a research article published in `Food Chemistry Journal’ of city-based National Chemical Laboratory, the famous and much sought after Alphonso mango found in Devgad taluka of Sindhudurg district can be distinguished by the aroma carried by a naturally ripened fruit which is absent in the chemically ripened variety.

“Chemically ripened mangoes do not give such an aroma.

You need to press it hard on your nose to smell it,” said Ajit Gogate, Founder, Director and Chairman of the Devgad Taluka Mango Producing Cooperative Society, citing the findings of the study for benefit of the common consumer.

The skin of the fruit should “look” thin and soft. In contrast, chemically ripened mangoes look yellow and they have a hard feel.

While chemically ripened mangoes look uniformly coloured, naturally ripened ones show gradients in yellows and greens.

One should also “knock” the mangoes to see if they are hollow.

Gogate said, “Mangoes should not show wrinkles. Many people feel that if mangoes show wrinkles, they are good. The fact is that mangoes show wrinkles if they are over-ripe. If mangoes are wrinkled, yet green, avoid them. This means they were harvested immature.”

Mature mangoes develop a slight trough near the stem, enough to hold a drop of water or stop it from sliding down.

Gogate said the 25-year-old cooperative society of 700 farmers was now entering into e-commerce to take Alphonso mangoes from its members’ farms to the consumer through a website, where orders can be placed.

Published on March 30, 2013

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