KARACHI, June 12: The summer months of June, July and August are synonymous with the season of mango available in the market in a wide variety such as Sindhri, Langra and Chaunsa, but there are a whole lot of other fruit available at the same time that may not be selling well despite their own uniqueness and taste.
Maybe not as well, but selling side by side with mangoes are sapota (cheeko), lychee, plums, apricots and all kinds of melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew not to forget the year-round produce of papayas, bananas and apples.
“Yes, though nothing can be compared with the sale of mangoes, the other fruit, too, carry their own importance. For instance, falsa [purple berries] at Rs260 per kilo is still a winner for beating the heat. You can have it with masala or for making sherbat. Its demand is set to increase during Ramazan,” said one falsa vendor at Burnes Road.
His neighbour, Mohammad Ramzan, selling all kinds of fruit besides the mango said that terbooz (watermelon) was also doing well. “Terbooz is Rs30 per kg and doing quite well, as its juice is in demand these days. But then the alucha or aaloo bukhara [plum] at Rs240 per kg and aarhoo [peach] at Rs160 per kg are also selling well,” he said.
“We are also getting small apples, of the size of apricot, from Kalat that are a source of fascination for children. They are also sold for Rs160 per kg. But nothing matches up to mangoes. And I am not just talking about fruit but meat and vegetables, too,” said the fruit salesman, according to whom people also had mango with chapatti.
“Lychee is Rs320 per kilo now as it is local though it was also selling well when being imported and was available for Rs600 per kg. But please do not compare it with mangoes as all other fruits lose the race when compared with them,” said another fruit seller, Mohammad Umar, at Khadda Market in Defence.
Manzoor Alam, a salesman at a Hyperstar’s fruit and vegetable counter, said that sales of other fruit went down by around 50 to even 75 per cent during the mango season.
“We have a variety of local and imported fruit, including the Indian banana and apple, the South African grapes, pineapple from the Philippines, kiwi fruit, avocadoes, oranges, coconut, etc. But nothing can compete with mangoes although the pineapple comes close by several furlongs,” he said. “Currently, we are selling around 300 pineapples a day,” he added.
Asked about the qualities of all these seasonal fruits, Dr Shazia Erum Chaudhry, a dietician at Dr Ziauddin Medical Hospital, Clifton, said:
“Nature has created all these fruits for our benefit and one should enjoy them, if they can. Still some people cannot have some fruits. For instance mangoes, due to their high sugar content, are not good diabetics,” she said.
“But then the market is flooded with java plum (jamun) during this time of the year, which is actually quite good for a diabetic patient. For that matter, papaya, too, which you get the year round, is great for controlling insulin. They can also help themselves with falsa and melons such as cantaloupe or honey dew but not terbooz or watermelon as that, too, has too much sugar content,” the dietician said.
As for the other nutritional values of all these fruits, the doctor said that mangoes were great for boosting energy as well as cleansing the blood. “Some people refrain from having mangoes thinking that they produce more heat in the blood, but they help make more blood. Your skin breaking out in pimples is actually a sign of production of fresh blood in the body,” she pointed out.
“Then there are other fruits such as falsa, berries, plums, apples and lychee that carry the same effect but with fewer calories and less sugar. All increase iron in the blood chemistry and are good remedies for anaemia. Of these, lychee prevents dehydration, too,” she added.
“Apricots are good calcium providers with plenty of fibre and cranberries are good for urinary tract infections,” Dr Chaudhry explained.
“Coconut water is great for treating jaundice and controlling hepatitis and other such infections as it boosts liver function. But Karachiites, despite being blessed with such a long coastline, have not taken advantage of it by planting more coconut trees to enjoy the fruit and its benefits like the people of other coastal cities in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India have done,” she said.
About the other fruits available the year-round, the doctor said that papaya was high in fibre and also good for diabetic patients who should avoid bananas.
“For others, bananas, being high in potassium, are essential for building strong bones. As for apples, well, what do they say about having an apple a day?” she concluded.