For me, the sweetest fruit of Bush’s bisit to India is that finally, after 17 years of trying, Indian mangoes will soon be available in the US. Thus far, desis in the US have had to settle for Mexican mangoes, which are neither as sweet nor as juicy as what one can get back in the sub-continent.

Perfection in a golden wrapper

While India is the largest producer of mangoes (41% of the world produce), and the US is the largest importer (29% of all imports), there was no convergence between the two. The gainer was Mexico which only produces 5 per cent of the world’s mangoes and has 25 per cent of the mango export market. [Link]

The cause of the decades long mango moratorium was a fear of alien invasion, a (legitimate) concern about nasty creepy crawlies that might infest America’s fecund farmlands. This concern has now been allayed via the miracle of modern science – Indian mangoes will be nuked, neutered and neutralized before they are allowed to immigrate:

Preventing Indian mangoes from entering US supermarkets was the strict Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) conditions imposed by the US. Pests like pulp weevil and fruit fly are alien to US conditions. And the US was never confident about India’s capability to make the harvest pest-free… Several meetings later, the clincher was irradiation, the method to be now adopted to make mangoes pest-free. Earlier, it was limited to vapour treatment and quarantine. [Link]

How sweet it is. M-day is roughly 18 months away and I can hardly wait!

44 thoughts on “Mmmmmmmangoes!

  1. irradiation, the method to be now adopted to make mangoes pest-free.

    Somehow, the idea of irradiated mangoes is less appetizing to me.

  2. Somehow, the idea of irradiated mangoes is less appetizing to me.

    Plenty of things get irradiated. From medical implants (certain plastics I believe) to food. The benefits of irradiating the food is tremendous. Shelf life definitely increases as a result of killing off the pests. It’s expensive (or was, I don’t know how pricey it is these days), but extremely safe.

  3. Mangoes are the King of Fruit (well mangoosteens are the king in my book).. but this news is incredible.. hafooz/alfonso mangoes here in Amrika? Wow… totally psyched.. we actually grow alfonso mangoes in our backyard in Cali.. get around 3-5 mangoes a year.. hell we almost eat even the skin of the mango.. every bite is cherished.. the smell of the alfonso is incredible… whohooo… no more Mexican mangoes for me… thanks for making my day/week Ennis :)

  4. What about raw/green mangoes (khati keri?) Have a hard time finding those. The closest I’ve gotten in the US is those half-ripe Mexican mangoes.

  5. Indian mangoes will be nuked, neutered and neutralized

    is that in the literal sense? the pit itself seems to be dry and hollow – there seems nothing to grow from. general q for the sepiacs? how are mangoes cultivated? what purpose does the fleshy consumable fruit serve in the grand propagation of the MAngo?

  6. i am so pumped! i love skinning a cold mango and sinking my teeth into the flesh…a perfect breakfast with a cup o’doodh. mmm, banganpalli, kesar, mulgoa, alfonso…mmmm!

    wonder if we can get saif to do an ad…

  7. Mango. The most sublime fruit on earth! I cringe whenever I see what passes for mangoes at the local supermarket.

  8. This is just fantastic. Definitely made my day. Now finally my boyfriend will find out what all that mango nostalgia was about. Bye bye tasteless Mexican mangoes!

  9. That’s exciting news, but 18 months is a long wait! :-(

    But for alphonso, especially after waiting for so many years, what’s eighteen months! :-)

    The countdown has started …………..

  10. Do you know how cruelly this strikes a blow to the heart of all Desi-spice literature? No more hackneyed allusions to exotic mangoes ripening in the sun. And I wanted to write a novel called 3-bedroom-overgentrified-loft-of-Ripe-Mangoes. Damn!

  11. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects the mango market in India over the next few years and beyond…once Americans taste REAL mangoes, not Mexican/Brazilian whatever…they’re likely to never go back! If the exports from India do pick up, that could be a windfall for some farmers.

    Btw, one thing I noticed in the US vis-a-vis UK and Oz is that mango juice is quite popular in the latter two countries and is abundantly available in the supermarkets. Not so in the US (particularly Midwest, but true in general).

  12. The one problem is that mangos wont taste the same. In order for them to survive trucking, packing, flying, and then re-shipping, they’re either going to ship them slightly green or they’ll breed hardier varieties. Either way means less sweetness and juice; flavor sacrificed for looks and durability.

  13. I like mangos but only when not in the fruit form. Not quite a big fan of mango. Bring on shake anytime, indian style ;) .

  14. 23 · Pattie Kaur on February 28, 2006 08:07 PM · Direct link Oh, man though…i love mangoes….i still can’t wait!

    Pattie, if sardars find out they aren’t going to be to happy with you being so free with your declarations of love all of a sudden.

  15. Not that I don’t trust GujuDude, but I found the following news on food irradiation. (I was about to get all angry about GM-ing my mangoes, but not angry no more)

    Food irradiation is a promising new food safety technology that can eliminate disease-causing germs from foods. Like pasteurization of milk, and pressure cooking of canned foods, treating food with ionizing radiation can kill bacteria and parasites that would otherwise cause foodborne disease… The food that NASA astronauts eat has been sterilized by irradiation to avoid getting foodborne illness in space.
    Three different irradiation technologies exist, that use three different kinds of rays: gamma rays, electron beams and x-rays.

    I think there’s an Abhi/NASA/Mango joke in there somewhere…

  16. Pattie, if sardars find out they aren’t going to be to happy with you being so free with your declarations of love all of a sudden.

    ROTFLMAO!!!!! don’t worry, loddie, i’ve a way to balance between the two! besides, thye seemed to have been happy with a few of my other loves, so we’ll live!

  17. This might be the only place that I can get this answered…! does anyone know what those little green mango-type fruits are. You cut them and eat them with salt and chili. In the south (well, Bangalore), they’re called “polly mangos” but, I have no clue what their actual name is, and thus I can’t ask for them anywhere. :O

  18. Tara: I think poly-mangoes are just an under-ripe variety of mango, no? At least that’s what anyone who’s offered me some in Bangalore has said…

    Not to be a total damper on the mango-love fest, but as excited as I am for you Yanks, I have to wonder what the export of mangoes will do to the Indian mango market. Are farmers going to be pressured to cultivate only certain types of mangoes? Are we going to see a patenting/GMO-ifying of mangoes a la neem/basmati (at least I think it’s basmati) etc? Will quality mangoes be exported to the detriment of Indians as in the case of ilish (hilsa) where the availability and cost to Indians are affected because of the export market? Are we going to see a loss of mango variety in India? And not that farmers are currently well-cushioned from market prices, but how protected will they be once mangoes are globalised and the term “bulk” becomes that much more exponential? I’m not an economist – so maybe someone can answer some of these questions better that I can. Maybe mango export is a sweet, juicy, golden dream after all.

  19. India already has 16% of the world market, so it’s exporting at this time. Furthermore, India is large enough, and transport slow enough that many of those same pressures are present in the domestic market, especially as goods and services begin to travel further and further within the country.

  20. Mango Man, one of my friends grew up in Karachi, though his family had migrated from India at the time of partition. He said come mango season every year, his grandfather would lapse into a tremendously nostalgic mood, berating the Pakistani mangoes in the market and reminescing about the langdas and chausas he ate in Allahabad. I’ve heard other Pakistanis who’ve tasted Indian mangoes say the same. Indian mangoes are way better.

  21. I’m so excited…best news…Alfonso is Indian righ? now just want the Pakistani Anwar rator and i’m in mango heaven

  22. this is for my bff,kim, the greatest mango-loving gori in the world.


  23. Oh who cares where they originate from, as long as they’re good old desi-style aams! I will, however, miss the days of smuggling mangoes from Karachi to NYC in my suitcase.

  24. Let’s all agree to call the long-awaited day “M-DAY”! Let’s all have M-DAY parties!!

  25. Let’s all agree to call the long-awaited day “M-DAY”! Let’s all have M-DAY parties!!

    always need a good reason to party! let the festivities begin!

  26. There had been a void, a deep, deep canyon of emptiness running through my soul and now I realize what it was…..Indian Mangoes. Such news have I received with this simple email of joy from D.A.I.D.K.W. (Desi’ Abroad I Dont Know Why) that I felt the mango muse upon my shoulder and wrote this little Ode to the Indian Mango

    Oh dry has been my mouth, oh bland with foreign taste have i suffered Having to suck on a mexican, a dirty, yellow fruit it makes me shudder

    But soon those days, the days of pain and misery will be long behind Cause Bush went to India and realized that Americans had been blind

    Doctors, engineers, 7 eleven clerks, and IT nerds had long made India Proud What the world didnt know is that India is where sweet & juicy is also found

    So soon the mangoes will arrive and there will be joy in the streets and summers more stickier The expat Indians will feel even closer to home, having moved here all they do is long for the swaad of india yaar.

  27. Mi amiga, mango lover…i am deeply offended with such nicely rhymed poem but such gruel words!!!

  28. Brownfrown, I shared your apprehensions as I read through this article. Nothing I can find seems to answer any of those questions either. Now that there are a whole hell of a lot more South Asians in the US than there were last time Indian mangoes were being imported, and now that the Desh is the multi-culti flavor-of-the-decade there, I would imagine that the demand will be purdy durned significant (to use economic terms). I really really want to see data on the logistics – what kind of mangoes they plan to export, how much transportation and irradiation costs will affect their price for the American consumer, etc. Brain Drain is one thing; Mango Drain will not be tolerated.

    However: even if one takes the enthusiasm with which people greeted this news on Sepia Mutiny into consideration (and I certainly do) as an indication of the demand for mangoes once they get to the States, the number of Indian consumers of mangoes is probably staggering compared to the number of US consumers, even if every auntie, uncle, and Indophile living in the US lines up on day one. We know the percentage of the world’s mangoes which India produces and we know the percentage of the mango export market which India owns, but what we really need is the percentage of Indian mangoes which get exported. I would imagine this number is really tiny compared to the number of mangoes which are consumed in India by sticky Indian fingers. oh god, I can’t wait until summer. Sorry, what? Mangoes? US? So does anyone know off-hand how what percentage of Indian-grown mangoes are shipped off to other countries? Or where to look for such numbers?

    Ennis (#16):

    Furthermore, India is large enough, and transport slow enough that many of those same pressures are present in the domestic market, especially as goods and services begin to travel further and further within the country.

    I dunno – how slow is transport here, really? You really think it would take longer for a mango to get from a Gujarati grove to a market in Chennai than it would from that same grove to a market in Jekishan Heights? As goods and services begin to travel further and further within the country, transportation technology improves. I suspect this is how it works, rather than the mango market changing its supply just to get its product to different parts of the country. Do you have any data to suggest otherwise? I don’t have any to support my suspicion, but that’s all it is – a suspicion. You seem to be pretty certain about transport here…