Country’s first ready-to-serve dragon fruit juice, ready-to-eat jackfruit curry unveiled at ICAR-IIHR 

The jackfruit curry was perhaps the most intriguing product for many visitors at the National Horticulture Fair (NHF) which was kickstarted on Tuesday

March 05, 2024 09:39 pm | Updated 09:39 pm IST - Bengaluru

Participants at the National Horticulture Fair at Indian Institute of Horticulture research campus in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Participants at the National Horticulture Fair at Indian Institute of Horticulture research campus in Bengaluru on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

For what is touted as the first time in the country, scientists at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) - Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) have developed a ready-to-serve (RTS) dragon fruit/kamalam fruit beverage. 

It is difficult to prepare an RTS dragon fruit beverage due to the tiny seeds and the nature of its pulp, according to Pushpa Chethan Kumar, senior scientist at IIHR. 

“Therefore, IIHR has developed an RTS dragon fruit beverage using a method where the seeds and the mucilage have been removed but retaining its exotic color and taste. The RTS will provide consumers a soothing lighter taste and a bright pink colored dragon fruit beverage,” she said. 

The beverage will have a shelf life of six months under ambient conditions and contains no synthetic flavour or colour. The scientists are also working on developing dragon fruit pulp powder and different flavoured dragon fruit RTS. 

Ready-to-eat jackfruit curry 

The scientists have also given a new form to the popular jackfruit by making it into a ready-to-eat curry. This innovation was perhaps the most intriguing product for many visitors at the National Horticulture Fair (NHF) which kickstarted on Tuesday.

Scientists have used Retort Processing Technology for recipe standardisation and storage stabilisation. With no use of preservatives, the curry will have a shelf life of 18 months at room temperature.  

Like any other ready-to-eat product, the packet of curry should be dipped in hot water for five to eight minutes before consumption. “The tender jackfruit curry in ready-to-eat form increases its reach as well as meet the requirements of consumers, besides helping in growth of ready-to-eat segment of processing industry,” IIHR officials said. 

With tender jackfruit gaining popularity as a substitute for meat in many countries across the world, over 800 tonnes of tender jackfruit were exported from Karnataka, mainly to Bangladesh and Thailand.  

Considering this growing demand, scientists have also come up with a technologically innovated ready-to-cook product, which provides 18 months of shelf life to bulbs of tender jackfruit. It also prevents browning of the bulbs and preserves the texture.  

This technology is expected to benefit both farmers and traders by guaranteeing the availability of tender jackfruit throughout the year. A combination of a solution having Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Approved Class I and II preservatives and retort packaging has been used in this product. 

Disease resistant chillies 

Arka Nihira, Arka Dhriti, and Arka Gagan, three hybrid chilli varieties developed in IIHR, are resistant to Phytophthora root rot (PRR) and Chilli leaf curl virus, which have proven to be a threat to the growth of chillies in the country. 

“We developed 11 hybrid chilli varieties and three of them have shown resistance to PRR and leaf curl virus. We have used Cytoplasmic Genetic Male Sterility (CGMS) lines to avoid emasculation and do direct pollination. This also reduces the cost of seed production,” Madhavi Reddy K., principal scientist, Division of Vegetable Crops, IIHR, told The Hindu

She added that while providing high yields, these chillies also vary in pungency and fruit size as they have been developed for different market segments. 

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