Jack fruit is one of my favorite fruit. In Kerala during summer months that is from April to June there will be an abundance of jackfruit and mango. There are several varieties of mango, but only two kinds of Jackfruit. The jackfruit fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit some time reach about 80 pounds (36 kg) in weight and up to 36 inches (90 cm) long and 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter.
According to Wikipedia, it is native of south East Asia and believed to originate in south western rain forest in India. This tree is widely cultivated in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Jackfruit is also found in East Africa, e.g., in Uganda, Tanzania and Mauritius, as well as throughout Brazil and Caribbean nations such as Jamaica. It is heaviest fruit of world.
Two types of Jackfruit, Koozha chakka, the fruits of which have small, fibrous, soft, mushy, but very sweet carpels where as other one will be more important commercially, with crisp carpers of high quality known as Varika.
We eat Jackfruit in all forms, including young, unripe and ripe form. Young and unripe forms are used to make curries, stir-fry and chips. Where ripe ones will eat as such or some time convert them into a jam or preservative form called Chakka varatti with jaggery /unrefined sugar. It is not good for eating with bread because it is very viscous and hard to spread; and later used to make desserts and sweets with them. If you ask me what taste of jackfruit is, I can’t explain in words, but here it is explain as cross of banana and pineapple.
In Kerala, almost every house will have trees like, coconut, mango, jackfruit, banana etc. I remember my grandma used to cut two three unripe jackfruit using a big knife we call it vettukathi (Machete) It is not easy to clean the jackfruit as it oozed out latex which is so sticky; you need newspapers and coconut oil. Whenever latex oozes she first removes it with newspaper and then apply coconut oil over it. First she cut the fruit into two then removes inedible central core and patiently removes each fruit and its fibrous rag and then cut open and removes the seeds. If it is unripe she will cut into 4 pieces and makes chips. Usually our neighbor will join the cleaning process as she had a cow which liked to eat jackfruit cover and rags, and a goat who loved to eat jackfruit leaves. I can only dream nowadays about chips. I have seen jackfruit chips in Indian store; unfortunately nobody knows when it is made. One time I bought it from the Indian store and when I opened it, had a bad taste from the oil that got spoiled. If you take a packet it will be written, made in 2012 and expires in 2014. Tell me which chips last that long. That means their expiry date doesn’t mean anything and it is dependent upon the guy who packed it. If I like to put 2 years then it is 2 years if 4 then it is 4 years. So I stopped buying from the store.
Last time when we went to India, my sister-in-law bought a packet of jackfruit preserve during her visit to hometown. Mother-in-law kept it for me, so I took along with my valuable procession of spices and some goodies which is not available here.
With that I made Jackfruit preserve pudding and steamed ricepacket with sweetened jackfruit preserve. Then I realized how much pain grandma used to take to make the preserve and chips. When I was young she used to ask me if I can help with removing the seeds, and then I will tell Grandma, I have to play. But I will be timely present for chips when it is removed from the oil. Love to munch at any time of the day. She will be giving to me in my small bowl, telling that it is hot eat is carefully, otherwise you will burn yourself.
Now I hear that even MacDonald , Indo-Chinese dishes and pizza hut conquered Kerala, and people like to eat that and ignoring the poor jackfruit which never fails to give a fruit every year. Okay I am not here to say anything about it.
Last week when my hubby went to Indian store, he saw a jackfruit and normally it cost the price of gold. But he was able to get in lesser prices. When I saw them in Fiesta local grocery there is not much fruit in there, but price was sky high. In Hong Kong market it was the same story. So when he brought it home, it was like a million dollar to me.
I remembered the entire tip and tricks my grandma used to say and do while cutting it. Finally I was able to get 50 pieces. Yesterday I cooked the seeds with little turmeric and salt and removed skin and made stir-fry with onion and red chilies.
If you get a whole jack fruit cut it in the middle to form two halves. Once you cut it don’t touch the center core, you will see sticky latex; first remove that latex using oiled tissue paper. Then cut out central core just like pineapple.
The cut the bulbs from its base, if it is ripe one you can just pull them out and remove chunk of the white fibers at the top of the fruit. Then peel back all of the white fibers (actually they are immature fruits) surrounding the fruit. As only yellow part is edible. Make a cut from top to bottom of the yellow fruit to extract the seed.
Wash and keep the seed for future use. Best you can make curries with itor just boil in salted water and eat or you can even roast them.
If you get a chance to buy this fruit, buy and try them. It is delicious.
Here is fruit
Ready to consume.
Take at look at jackfruit seeds.