Guava - Prayagraj's Delectable Pride
Fruits, food, clothes always have their geographical distinction. If Nagpur is famous for its santras (oranges), Andhra for its Banganapalle Mangoes, Allahabad is famous for its rich and lush variety of ‘Amruds’ or guavas. Owing to this phenomenon, Allahabad is often referred to as “The City of Green Gold”. Rich in Pectin, vitamin C, A, folic acid and many other nutrients, this apple of the tropics comes in different varieties.
Allahabadi Safeda, Sangam, Lalit and Surkha are the famous ones propagated in this region, the size, colour, quality, texture and the taste makes it extremely distinctive from the rest.
The Safeda is yellowish white, round, soft skinned, with white firm flesh, pleasantly flavoured and famous all over India. It has numerous seeds, yet relished along.
Surkha, on the other hand, with winters setting in acquires a beautiful uniform pink skin, with pink flesh, sweet striking flavour and has very less seeds. The colour is so inviting that one cannot walk by without those lustful eyes. Surkha has a very limited shelf life.
The temperature, rich fertile soil and rainfall received by Allahabad makes it ambient and allows proliferation of guava trees in abundance. The trees are capable of surviving in extreme humid conditions.
During the peak season the streets are filled with vendors with carts piled up with these fruits. One is amazed at the freshness and the size of the fruits. The orchard owners say, depending on the fall of winters, one can tell a lot about the yield for that particular year. With Urbanisation and cramped spaces for cultivation, the traditional orchard owners are facing crisis. Nevertheless, the latest Israeli technology introduced in 2008, has helped the guava cultivators manifold. It aims at ‘denser planting technique’ which consumes lesser amount of land, yet yields a good produce. Fused with modern techniques theses guava growers are geared up to face the demand.
The Allahabadi Safeda and Surkha have found its way to different countries like Middle East, Pakistan and Bangladesh. While one can enjoy the fruit at just 20 per kg in the city, it is sold at Rs 30-40 per kg within India. The cultivators of Allahabad see a whopping profit of 30-40 per kg when it comes to exporting these fruits.
This city known to be a famous tourist destination, is well connected by road, rail and air. Next time if you happen to be there during the season, grab your chance to visit one of the orchards with trees brimming with fruits. This fruit though not a native to India, has rooted itself and has been known in India for years. Relished in all forms, be it jellies, jams, juice or simply halved or quartered with a dash of salt and chilli powder/pepper as we Indians have always loved it - Guavas are no alien to us.