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Mango pickle: Appemidi aroma from Western Ghats

Mango pickle: Appemidi aroma from Western Ghats

By Suresh Nautiyal and Arun Kumar Singh

New Delhi, Jul 14 (UNI) If we just dream of a concoction of green mangoes, chillies, salt, garlic, seeds like mustard, fenugreek and oil, the visual imagery of mouthwatering pickle immediately strikes our brains and if there is aroma in it, it is for sure Appemidi variety, which is one of the best pickle mangoes, doing a great business.

The Appemidi is not just an ordinary mango, its aroma is so tang that adding just a few tender fruits to an ordinary pickle can change its taste as well as sweetness. 'Appemidi' is the king of all tender mangoes as far as its use in pickle industry is concerned.

Diversity in Appemidi mango can be seen, especially in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka. This region is famous for the pickling types of mango called 'Appemidi', which enjoys geographical indication (GI) tag.

Appemidi, word originates from Kannada. 'Midi' means a tender mango. These mangoes are somewhat different from the general mango it may be round or oblong, but most of the varieties are small size with strong pleasant smell.

This variation has originated due to its multiplication through seeds. Several group are made on the basis of aroma, a group has strong smell like jeera (cumin) some smell like kapoor (camphor) and several have raw orange flavour and not the least, a few are having normal mango flavour. These varieties are highly acidic (sour) in taste with think stock, small seed and generally long fruit shape. In general, these varieties cannot be used as fresh fruit.

Today, pickle industry thrives on this 'tender mango'.

No need to say that the raw mangoes are cut into small pieces, mixed with spices and seeds and stored in jars. Within a few days, the ingredients turn into the mouthwatering concoction. Actually, pickling is a process of preserving or extending the lifespan of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. The pickling procedure typically affects the food's texture, taste and flavour.

Luckily, India is bestowed with unique diversity of mangoes. Some of these varieties are used in India for making pickles -- in commercial ventures and in the households.

The Lucknow-based Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) -- an institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), has collected few varieties of this unique mango, Appemidi, for evaluating them under the Lucknow conditions.

Dr Shailendra Rajan, director of the CISH, said the plants were prepared from the Appemidi types originated in western Ghat region of Karnataka.

"Their performance is being studied at the institute," he told UNI.

Dr Veena Gowda, a scientist at CISH did her research on Appemidi mangoes during 2013-18 for her doctorate degree. The objective was to study the diversity of these unique mangoes for conservation and use.

"A well planned survey on collection of Appemidi mangoes based on the diversity richness was conducted in western ghat regions of Chikamagalur Distirct of Karnataka state. About 40 types were collected and characterised for profiling of major volatile compounds which are responsible for its unique aroma," Dr Rajan said.

"Among 40 types two genotypes from 'Arenuru' and 'Kudige' found to be the best with respect to flavour. Speciality of the pickle of Appemidi can be preserved for more than 5 years without any preservative," he added.

"In general, we are fascinated with the aroma of the spices used in mango pickle but there is a rare group of mangoes known as Appemidi, famous for aromatic pickles. The fruits are highly aromatic and are known as one of the best pickle mangoes doing business of hundreds of crores rupees," Dr Rajan pointed out.

In other parts of the country, he said, people have to wait till the mango develops hard stone then only the fruit is used for pickle making. "However, Appemidi mangoes are used when they are tender and the entire mango fruit is used for this purpose. These are very small as compared to pickle varieties like Ramleela in north and Ashwin in East but its fragrance is remarkable and the consumers like it and are ready to pay handsome amount for this type of mango pickles," said Dr Rajan.

Appemidi mangoes are harvested mostly from the trees growing in forest area or riverside.

Due to over exploitation, these trees are at the verge of extinction.

"Over harvesting and cutting of branches for fruits damage tree and people are only interested in exploiting this natural gift for fruits only," said Dr Rajan expressing his concern.

At ICAR-Indian Institute for Horticulture Research, Bangalore more than 150 varieties have been conserved whereas in Forestry College of Sirsi, Karnatka has also made significant efforts in conserving these aromatic pickle mangoes. The research conducted on the these mangoes has revealed that several types exist with unique flavour and aromatic volatile compound and become rare unique.

Now, realising the importance of this unique pickle mango, several nurseries have come up, multiplying these varieties through grafting. It is a good sign indicating the conservation need of the varieties which might not be available after a few years, if exploited at current pace.


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