Somewhere along the way jackfruit became unglamorous. Smelly, sticky, shapeless and prickly, it was rather easily cast aside. As demure, exotic fruits rolled into our fruit basket, it was a freefall for jackfruit down the fruit ladder.

The Jackfruit Fest to be held in Kozhikode later this month is meant to be the summer fruit's redemption. The festival will promote the infinite goodness of jackfruit, especially as the fruit is free of pesticides. The event, jointly organised by environmental groups, the Wayanad-based Uravu, residents' associations and others, aims to introduce buyers to the possibilities of jackfruit.

Different avatars

“We know only to steam and fry it,” says Babu Parambath, convener of the organising committee. The festival will introduce the discerning to the infinite ways in between. Chakka ada, chakka cutlet, chakka squash, chakka vada, chakka appam, chakka papadam — Babu lists out the options. No part of the jackfruit, beginning with the seeds, needs to go waste, the fest aims to assert. And in case a householder has jackfruits but is clueless what to do with it, the fest organisers have a solution at hand.

A Jackfruit Van is set to travel to different pockets to teach residents a variety of jackfruit dishes which they can learn and display at the fest. The van will be equipped with cooking gas, stove, jackfruits, utensils and other essentials. “Trained people will be travelling in the van to teach the residents,” says Babu. The organisers expect the residents' associations across the district to get in touch with them so that the Jackfruit Van can reach those areas.

Once a list of interested areas is chalked out, the van will begin its journey. “We plan to spend an hour at each residents' association teaching people different jackfruit dishes. The Jackfruit Van will start out by May 12,” he says.

Enthusiasts armed with new jackfruit recipes are expected to make a hearty presence at the fest. “We expect to have about 100 stalls at the fest, out of which 20 will be from Wayanad. A significant number of stalls will be set aside for residents' associations,” says Babu.

At the three-day festival, which will open on May 24, jackfruits will rule. “We plan to receive the fruit from all the four directions,” says Babu. “We will receive the fruits coming from Sri Lanka at the airport, the ones from Tanur at the railway station and those coming from Kannur and Wayanad will be brought in a bus and lorry.”

For more information about the Jackfruit Van contact 9447276177.

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