Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mangoes and Summer Heat

Summers in Pakistan are grueling. At times, the heat is unbearable. The flies are abundant in the summer here which make a life even tougher. On top of that, to say it politely, the load shedding compounds the heat problems here. 

Also, in the summer, we are blessed with the heavenly fruit of mango in Pakistan. Mangoes are mostly grown in interior Sindh and southern Punjab. The interior Sindh mangoes are called ‘Sindhri”, meaning “belonging to Sindh”. They are the first types to arrive in the market. 

The southern Punjab mangoes are late by a month. There are various varieties which appear phase wise. The first ones from southern Punjab arrive close to mid-June. They are basically generic mangoes and are called ‘desi’ mangoes. They are small in size compared to the other varieties. Next ones to come are ‘Dooseri’ and ‘Anwar Ratol’. ‘Anwar Ratool’ is also small in size but not as small as the desi mangoes, and is very delicious. They are considered as the ‘King of Mangoes’ because of their taste. 

Finally, arrives the sweetest of type of mangoes, called “Chaunsa”. Chaunsa is very juicy and refreshing tasting mango. This is the last of the mango types which arrives late in summer. Amazingly, the hotter the summer, the sweeter the mangoes. That is why southern Punjab produces the sweetest of the mangoes in Pakistan.

There are some who like to eat mangoes in slices. It is better to first wash mangoes with water and either place them in the refrigerator for cooling-off or put in an ice water for a couple of hours. 

Many people also enjoy drinking mango milk shake. As apparent from the name, mangoes are peeled, sliced and mixed with milk and sugar in a blender to prepare a milk shake. Mango ice cream is also an important delicacy enjoyed by the masses here. 

This fruit is also distributed among family and friends as a present. It is highly appreciated in this part of the world to be sent such a sweet gift to the loved ones.  It is also served in parties and some even call them ‘Mango party’. 
Since summer is over-whelming and people are trying to find ways to ‘enjoy’ the hot weather as much as they can, many arrange a bath at a pool or a small canal/ river, prepare food and bring mangoes to spruce up their get together.

All in all, no matter we have blazing summer with its challenges. But with that, we do find ways to keep things calm and relaxing with the blessings which we have been showered.