“The food that is not fed by the mother will be fed by the mango” – so goes an adage! Mango is the king of all pickles. Varieties of pickles are being made from different types of mangoes such as gethamar, seeri, rumani etc.chiefly based on the sourness inherently present in these. Mangoes are real intoxicants for those who are slaves to their taste buds. The growers claim that mango harvest is so abundant in a year that they can get around 500 kgs. yield from a tree.
In Tamil Nadu, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri are famous for growing mango fruits and so also mangoes. The inputs from the Treasurer, Udai Singh, Krishnagiri District Mango Growers Association and also Fruits Association are worth noting based on his long-time experience.
Gethamar meant for pickle:-
Gethamar variety is grown extensively for pickle mango in this region. This contains both sourness and fiber character. Even after it ripens it will continue to be sour and hence this is particularly grown more. The term ‘getha’ in Urdu language means donkey. The pickle from this will be made only in the Tamil month of Chithirai during the hot summer so that it will be very tasty.
Next only to Gethamar, Seeri, Rumani, Sarkaraikutty, Thothapuri, Alli Basandh are also used for pickles. Rumani is largely grown in Vellore, Kanchipuram and Tiruvellore. Vadu mankai is obtained only from the Rumani variety when they are in its infant stage. In Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri, this is grown and harvested in abundance. In mango groves all varieties will be grown in a mixed fashion.
In Krishnagiri district, 2 L tonne mangoes are being sent to mango pulp making factories. Similarly, 2,000 tonne is harvested mainly for pickles. When compared to Gujarat and Maharashtra States, our State has less pickle factories; however, now it is increasing steadily.
Harvest of mango in Chithirai month:-
Thambidurai of Ikundam village, Krishnagiri says that mango is his primary cultivation. He has bore well water for irrigation. He cultivates 1,500 Neelam and Bangaloran variety of fruit trees. Besides this, he has 20 nos.of gethamar and 35 nos.of seeri varieties of mango all of which are more than 10 years old in terms of age. He has planted the trees with a distance of 25 ft.in between instead of the normal distance of 20 ft. On an average he has 55 trees in an acre.
Normally, Thambidurai would give his land on lease. Upon completion of harvest, he would dig around the trees and put manure of 3 baskets per tree with water. If it rains, he will irrigate once a month and if there is no rain, he will irrigate thrice a month. In the month of margazhi, they will blossom during which time no water should be given. But again water must be poured in the month of Thai. If the maintenance is followed in this manner, the harvest will happen in the month of Chithirai under normal circumstances.
Thambidurai further adds that he gets around 500 to 750 kg. mangoes per tree which he is able to sell @ Rs.15/- per kilo. If we assume that he gets 500 kg., that itself would get him Rs.7,500/- and after meeting the expenses, he would get a net income of Rs.5,000/-. As of now, he has got yield only from gethamar variety and from Seeri variety, it is awaited. From gethamar variety itself (20 Nos.) he confirms that he gets around Rs.1 L as profit.
Venkatachaapathy of Ikundam village grows four different varieties of mango such as gethamar, seeri, rumani, seemannai puttikai. Besides this, another variety is also grown which has no name and hence called ‘notty’ by them. All the trees in his farm are 30 years old. He is in the practice of leaving his farm on lease only and hence the income is an assured one for him. Since the whole farm is dependent on rain water irrigation, the taste is naturally nice and delicious. As his farm belongs to manavari type, if it gives good yield once year, it will be the opposite the following year. However, as follows lease practice, he is not affected by the returns.
Feeback from Rajkumar of Chandur:-
Rajkumar is a producer of pickles at Chandur. He confirms that gethamar is the best variety for pickles whereas seeri is the best one in commercial sense. However, he uses all varieties which give sour taste for making pickles. He asserts that on an average 700 kg.pickles can be made from one tonne mangoes but from gethamar still more can be made.
He further says that if the mango is meant for pickle making, it must be plucked when we notice a fibre around the seed. Harvesting can be done based on a dent that will be caused at the edge. Maturity-wise 60% to 75% is enough for harvesting. Mangoes that taste sweet cannot be used for making pickles. Vadumangai and gethamar varieties can be normally used for making pickles used at home while seeri, gundunatti, sendura, sarkaraikatti and also alphonsa, neelam and Bengalura varieties can be used for making pickles at large scale in industries.
How to make the pickle?
Rumani variety is widely used in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvellore and Vellore districts. Rumani is normally of round shape with shining cover. One can eat it raw also. Each mango will weigh 100 gm to 200 gm. Vadumangai is being prepared from the fallen mangoes. It is the ideal combination for curd rice which is taken by majority of population and hence there can be no problem for selling them.
Seeding can be done from June to November in a year. 2 x 2 ft.pit can be made with a distance of 20 ft. in-between for sowing the seed. On the third day water must be poured in and must be continued depending on the moisture content. Efforts must be taken to protect from grazing by cattle. With proper maintenance, they will give yield from third year.
Where to get mango plants?
The mango plants are largely available at Chandur in Krishnagiri district through private nursery centres. Sainath who procures mango plants in this place says that Seeri, gethamar, kottaikkai varieties are in demand for home needs. Out of 500 plants at least 10 will be for pickle purpose. Besides this, one can buy from Government horticultural seeding centres also.
Pickles – 4000 years old story:-
Historians view that pickles are present from the beginning of human civilization and they were prepared in natural way. The origin of pickle goes back to Roman empire wherein the king Tiberius is said to have eaten the cucumber grown in Himalayas adding salt with that. As far as India is concerned, it is 4,400 years old. The famous historian A.K.Achaya has recorded that in the year 1594, there were more than 50 different types of pickles in use. Apart from mango, lime etc. people had made pickles from eral and other varieties of fish for their use.
Multi-varieties of pickles:-
If we cut the mango in pieces and make it a pickle with the shell, it is called Avakkai
If we cut the mango and use only the flesh for making a pickle out of it, it is called Cut Mango
If we remove the outer skin and scrap it for making a pickle, it is known as Thokku
If we use the offspring of mangoes as it is it is called Mavadu
We can grind mangoes to make it as a side dish known as Chutney
Therefore, it is only fair and justifiable that we accord as much significance to the mango pickle as we do to the main dish.
(This article written in Tamil by Jayakumar for Pasumai Vikatan has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)