It is one thing for a town to be known for its food culture, but it is quite another for a city to be linked with the fruit. Nagpur, the 3rd largest city of Maharashtra, is known as the ‘Orange City’ taking after the sweet juicy, pulpy fruit as the city is the largest producer of oranges in India. The Nagpur orange, also known as the sweet mandarin or Nagpur mandarin, is one of the most popular varieties of oranges.
Along with several large land parcels of orange farms, the agro-climate of the city is hot and its soil is ideal for these fruits to grow. Additionally, specific farming practices that are applied in Nagpur are best suited for its dimpled-skin oranges. Hence if Ratnagiri is known for its mangoes, Nagpur corresponds to orange or sweet mandarin.
Known for their distinct flavour and aroma, Nagpur oranges are also known as Nagpur Santra, Nagpur Mandarin or Sweet Mandarin.
They yield during the monsoon season when they are also ready to be harvested. Blossomed twice a year, the delicious citrus fruit that hits the market between September to December is Ambiya which has a tinge of tartness. But Mrig, which is harvested in January is a lot sweeter. The fruit does not require high altitude and can be grown in many types of soil. The ideal pH of the soil should be between 6-8.
The rind is loose-jacketed and easy to peel. Wine made from these oranges is delicious. Some of the best Mandarins are grown in Wardha and Amravati too.
Nagpur orange was not cultivated in Nagpur by accident but by design. Late Shri Raghujiraje Bhonsle, tested Nagpur orange as a kitchen garden plant making the experiment a successful venture. It was tested for the first time and since then the cultivation of oranges has gained speed. Today, this fruit is one of the most profitable ventures and is exported all over the world. A visit to Nagpur will offer a wonderful vista of beautiful orange farms with trees laden with ripe oranges.
What is so special about Sweet Mandarin or Nagpur Oranges?
Nagpur Mandarin or Sweet Mandarin are table fruit which is not exactly round. Deep orange slices of the flesh and their acid-sweet taste and aroma give it a stand-out quality making it different from other varieties of orange. Nagpur orange is grown mainly in Satpura Hills but is also cultivated in Darjeeling, Odisha, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
The word on the street is that Nagpur Mandarin is now awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) status. GI is a tag which is given to some products in a certain geographical location. It is a certification that automatically highlights the unique qualities and status of the fruit due to its geographical origin. The GI status also extends to privileges to the farmer growing Sweet Mandarin helping them to sell their citrus in both the international and domestic markets. It helps improve the processing industry and also gives a boost to the export market.
Nagpur Mandarin is regarded as one of the best mandarins in the world and its demand graph just growing.
Santra in food
Peel the oranges and eat them as it is or go crazy over orange burfee. Believe us when we say that sweet mandarin is packed with goodness. Rich in various vitamins A, B and C, the peels have an established market for their oil and citrus acid.
Orange halwa, or salad green with sweet Nagpur citrus to a Ganga-Jamuna, these sweet mandarins can be enjoyed any way you like. It can be used in other ways like squash, fresh juices concentrate, in cocktails and of course in jams.
The peel of Mandarin is a good source of essential pectin and oil. It makes the basic material for the production of cattle feed, candies, and alcohol.
Fix a visit to Orange city, Nagpur to taste the unique Nagpur oranges but also takes in the lovely deep orange view.
The “Tiger Capital” of India is another name for Nagpur, but since the ‘oranges’ grown here are so well-known, the city is also known as the “city of oranges”.
Nagpur oranges, sweet mandarin, are also one of the best horticultural crops which come after banana and mango nationally.