(Last Updated on : 31/01/2014)
Mangifera indica Linn.
Indian names are as follows:
Kachcha Aam Amchur
Mango is known to be the king of all fruits and it is the national fruit of India as well. Mango is one fruit for which India is proud of. Internationally ripe mango is in demand. Certain varieties of mango such as Langda, Alfanso or Hapus, Himsagar, Golap Khas, Chowsha, Dasseri, Keshar, Neelam, Shahdullah etc. are in demand in both National as well as International markets.
Amchur however is not a product of ripe mango. It is the dried or dehydrated product prepared from unripe mango flesh in the form of peeled slices or powder used for acidification of curries etc. Invariably under-ripe and wind fallen seedlings or country mangoes are utilized for the manufacture of Amchur. Amchur is produced mostly in the northern states of India.
The unripe fruits are peeled and the flesh cut into thin slices. The slices are then dried in the sun and packed for sale. Amchur is also marketed in the form of powder by crushing or powdering the dried raw mango slices. Sometimes slices are seasoned with powdered turmeric and then sun dried in order to avoid insect, pest attacks during preparation and storage.
Undoubtedly, mango is the most important national fruit of India, both in respect of acreage and production, 40 per cent of the total area in India under mangoes is in Uttar Pradesh alone. This is followed by Bihar [11.4 per cent], Andhra Pradesh [9.8 per cent], West Bengal [9.5 per cent], Orissa [8.8 per cent], and Kerala [5.9 per cent]. During recent past Gujarat has come up as one of the major mango growing states. Maharastra follows closely to above list.
Analysis of a commercial sample of Amchur showed the following composition:
Moisture:14.7 per cent
Total acidity [as tartaric acid]:15.2 per cent
Reducing sugar:3.0 per cent
Ash:5.4 per cent.
Amchur is rich in citric acid. No quality standards have yet been fixed for Amchur by any standard-laying body.
Amchur is used as an acidulant or a' souring agent' for curries, similar to the use of tamarind pulp extracts in the South Indian curries such as 'Sambhar' and 'Rasam'. It is also used in chutneys, soups and certain specific vegetable curries. The main purpose of its addition is to lower the pH of gravy whereby destruction of spoilage organisms in the vegetable curry, etc. is made much easier at boiling point. There are also certain medicinal properties of both unripe mango as well as Amchur, which is made applicable by various folk practitioners. The kernel, which is usually thrown away while manufacturing Amchur, also has medicinal properties. It is reported to be an astringent, used in hemorrhaged and diarrhea and is anthelmintic; its juice, if snuffed, can stop nasal bleeding.