Though Zardalu might not find mention among the top varieties of mangoes in India that include Dusseheri, Langra and Alphonso, this mid-season fragrant mango is now much sought-after outside the districts of Banka and Munger in Bihar and slowly getting the recognition it duly deserves.
Zardalu or Jardalu as it is also known as, has a rich heritage. The first Zardalu mango sapling was planted in Bhagalpur region by the then Maharaja Rahmat Ali Khan Bahadur of Haveli Kharagpur sometime between 1810 – 1820. Local growers say that this first tree called as the mother tree has been preserved for over two centuries in Tagepur village.
Zardalu is also known as the love fruit because of its enticing aroma, attractive light yellow colour and taste that is comparable to a slice of heaven. Zardalu is deemed as quite the aphrodisiac and is found mainly in Bhagalpur and surrounding districts in Bihar. Locals say that the climatic conditions (with temperature around 20 °C – 25 °C) and excellent loamy soil is well-suited for the cultivation of mangoes. Though mangoes are grown in over 11,900 hectares of land in Bhagalpur alone, only about 1,500 hectares of land is reserved for the cultivation of Zardalu mango. Annual production is said to be about 10,000 metric tonnes.
This succulent mango possesses a distinctive creamy-yellow hue, a heady aroma, a very thin skin that requires a great deal of patience to peel off and a certain delectability that is extremely addictive. It has exceptional fruit quality with a sparingly fibrous firm flesh and golden yellow pulp.
Locals say that as the mango is very light in weight (200 g – 250 g), it is easy to digest. It is a rich source of Vitamin A, B6 and C, potassium, magnesium and copper and packed with antioxidants. This mango has more fibre and less sugar content and hence, is recommended even for diabetics and those suffering from high blood pressure.
The local authorities and Government are working actively to promote this aromatic mango and increase its production. As the mango has a very thin skin, preservation and transportation is a matter of great concern. Like all agricultural crops, dependence on nature is very high and therefore, optimum temperature becomes imperative to maintain the light yellow pigmentation, flavour and time of ripening. Untimely rains other than the traditional mango showers (kalbaishakhi) can significantly reduce the size and weight of the mangoes. Storage facilities, processing units and marketing will help the farmers generate more revenue each year.
This luscious Zardalu mango is now making its entry in international markets and building up a reputation for its remarkable taste, sweetness and fragrance. This delicious mango was awarded the Geographical Indication Tag (GI) in 2018.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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