The days of carbide-ripened mangoes, that look great but disappoint in taste, may well be over. A new ethylene-based FDA-approved ‘natural’ ripening method is now being used at APMC to make the mango taste that much better
A city-based entrepreneur, who uses a natural process to ripen mangos, may just be the new hero not just for traders but also for consumers tired of eating carbide-ripened mangoes that are being passed off as the ultimate king of fruits.
The ripening chamber at APMC, Vashi. Pic/Sameer Markande
Chemical ripening of mangos (commonly known as the carbide process) is known to damage the quality of the fruit. The Food and Drugs Administration has long emphasised the need for traders to stay away from this method to ripen the fruit. Which is why perhaps, Ritu Mittal Mukherjee’s Ethylene-based process of treating semi-ripe mangoes has brought smiles back on the faces of APMC traders.
Mukherjee, 28, is well acquainted with the world of agro-business, given her MBA degree, where she specialised in agricultural business. At APMC in Vashi, the owner of KrishiMart Pvt Ltd, is involved in ethylene-based ripening of mangoes.
“In 2009, my father and i were looking at getting into post harvest management of fruits and learnt about ethylene-based ripening, a process that is approved under the Food Safety and Security Standards. Since then, we have worked hard to create special chambers where we create natural conditions to let the semi-ripe fruit ripen.
Ethylene is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas, which fruits emit when it is time for them to ripen. At our chambers, we trigger ethylene into the atmosphere and let the fruit ripen gradually, after they arrive at our factory in a semi-raw condition. The ripening may take upto a full week, depending on where the client is planning to send it.”
If a trader wants to send the fruits overseas, then the product is ripened for lesser number of days, as it may ripen further during transit.
KrishiMart has four large mango ripening chambers inside the APMC market premises. Each chamber can accommodate one 4.5-kg box at a time, with each box storing up to six-dozen mangoes.
About ethylene-based system
>> Upon arrival the mangoes are first pre-cooled in the chamber
>> Depending on the requirement of a buyer, the mangoes are ripened for 2-7 days using the ethylene-based method
>> After ripening they can be shipped/consumed straightaway