Giant fruit, great taste

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Every part of it can be used to make some delicacy or the other

The English name `jackfruit' is derived from the Portuguese `jaca', which is derived from the Malayalam `chakka'. Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a species of tree of the mulberry family (Moraceae), native to southwestern India and Sri Lanka. The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences 3-7cm long and 1-2.5cm broad; the male and female flowers produced on separate inflorescences, the female inflorescences commonly borne on thick branches or the trunk of the tree. The sweet yellow sheaths around the seeds are about 3-5mm thick and have a taste similar to pineapple but milder and less juicy.Jackfruit is widely grown in South and Southeast Asia. It is also grown in parts of central and eastern Africa, Brazil and Suriname. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Medicinal uses

The jackfruit root is a remedy for skin diseases and asthma. An extract of the root is taken to cure fever and diarrhoea. Jackfruit provides a good supply of proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins. Jackfruit contains 38 per cent carbohydrates, 6.6 per cent proteins and 0.4 g fat, vitamins like vitamin A, C and B vitamins, and minerals like calcium, zinc and phosphorous. Its health benefits are wide-ranging from anti-cancer and antihypertensive to anti-ageing and anti-ulcer.

Culinary uses

Delicacies can be prepared from every part of the fruit. Westerners generally find jackfruit most acceptable in the full-grown but unripe stage, when it has no objectionable odour. The fruit at this time is simply cut into large chunks for cooking, the only handicap being its copious gummy latex which accumulates on the knife and the hands unless they are first rubbed with salad oil. The chunks are boiled in lightly salted water until tender, and the delicious flesh is cut from the rind and served as a vegetable, including the seeds which, if thoroughly cooked, are mealy and agreeable.The pods may be enjoyed raw or cooked (with coconut milk or otherwise); or made into ice cream, chutney, jam, jelly, paste or papad or canned in syrup made with sugar or honey with citric acid added. If the pods are boiled in milk, the latter when drained off and cooled will set like custard. By a method patented in India, the pods may be dried, fried in oil and salted for eating like potato chips.Now for a recipe.

Jackfruit jam

IngredientsJackfruit flakes: 1kg Clove: 12
Cinnamon: 6 (1-inch pieces)
Sugar: one-and-a-half kg
Citric acid: 1tsp
Water: 6 cups Method: Deseed the jackfruit and cut it into small pieces. Cook in water just enough to dip the pieces, adding crushed clove and cinnamon. When the water boils, remove the clove and cinnamon pieces from it. Smash the cooked jackfruit or grind in a mixer and sieve. Heat water, sugar and citric acid in a vessel. When it boils, add the fruit pulp to it. Stir continuously. When the solution thickens, remove it from fire and pour it into a prepared bottle.Cool the jam in the bottle and then store. To test whether the jam is done, cool the jam on a ladle. When cool, the jam should fall from the tilted ladle in flakes rather than in drops.

N. GOPI Sous Chef, Taj Connemara




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