Jack of all Fruits

Take home packets Jackfruit and Kokum Fair held at Sirsi

I remember savouring jackfruit whenever father brought them home. Being a village born, he liked all types of fruits and inculcated that liking in us too. Sadly, I have been unable to inculcate that love among my kids, who are city bred. It’s been years since I ate a jackfruit because my daughter can’t stand the smell of it. I’m not that type who can stand in the street and savour the fruit. But my love for jackfruit continues and  I was happy to know that jackfruit growers in Kerala and Karnataka have been holding jackfruit fests since last several years. For instance Sirsi-based Kadamba Marketing Society has been striving hard to popularize jackfruit in Uttara Kannada district and so far has held three jackfruit fests.

Though India has good jackfruit genetic types, we haven’t put efforts to identify and propagate twice bearing, all season, early bearing and heavily bearing types. Countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines have succeeded in developing best practices of jackfruit farming as well as value addition.

Jack is widely grown as an important tree in Kerala’s homesteads and also as a shade crop in coffee plantations. Popularly known as a poor man’s fruit in the eastern and southern parts if India, the jackfruit is a multi-purpose species providing food, timber, fuel, fodder, medicinal and industrial products. It is rich in vitamins A, B and C, potassium, calcium, iron, proteins and carbohydrates. Due to the high levels of carbohydrates, jackfruit supplements other staple foods in times of scarcity in some regions. The root extract is used as a remedy against skin diseases, asthma, fever and diarrhea. According to Ayurveda, jackfruit can reduce “Kapha” and “Pitha”. Regular consumption of jackfruit I supposed to improve facial skin glow while the seeds have an aphrodisiac effect. Being a rich source of Potassium it is an ideal food for patients with hypertension.

A beginning has been made by Horticulture Deptt. Sirsi to bring out a ‘Jackfruit Directory’ containing details and contact numbers of farmers having best variety of jackfruit trees in Utttara Kannada district. Jack lovers have identified at least half a dozen all season types of trees from different areas. Sadananda Halasu from Doddaballapura is one. Shreevijaya sourced from a Bangalore house and developed by Ankur Nursery, Ripponpete is another. There are few other trees that go on giving fruits for 6 to 8 months!

A rare type of Jackfruit was located in early nineties at the homestead of Timothy Menezes at Jeppu Mangalore with medium-sized fruits. In this the carpels have no fibre and the gum almost non-existent when fully ripe. The rind is very thin and fruit is very tasty on the optimum day of ripening. Later Mahalingeshwara Bhat Jalsoor and the late Harischandra Shetty Sompady popularised this jackfruit type. Today it has spread to many places in Kerala and Karnataka. Gumless jackfruit seems to have all characters required for branding the fruit at both state and national level.

Jackfruit can be used for vegetable, for table purpose as fresh fruit and value addition too. The pulp of the young fruit is cooked as a vegetable, pickled or canned. Pulp of ripe fruit is eaten fresh or made into various local delicacies including chutney, jam, jelly, and paste, or preserved as candies by drying or mixing with sugar, honey or syrup. The pulp is also used to flavour ice cream and beverages, made into jackfruit honey, reduced to concentrate or powder, and used for preparing drinks. The seeds can be eaten boiled, roasted or dried and salted as table nuts, or they can be ground to make flour and blended with wheat flour for baking. Young leaves can be used as fodder for cattle and other livestock.

Different types of value-added products can be prepared by processing of jackfruit bulbs, seeds and rind. Value added products like jackfruit halwa, jackfruit finger chips, jackfruit Ready-to-Serve (RTS) beverage, jackfruit candy, jackfruit bar, jackfruit srikhand, jackfruit kulfi, jackfruit bulbs. Jackfruit bulb flour was also utilized in the preparation of pakoda, dairy and bakery products like biscuits, muffins and ice creams. Value added products like Jack seed masala vada, Jack seed flour, fortified jack seed chapathi can be prepared from the Jack fruit seed, Jackfruit wine from this fruit and the fruit pulp can also be mixed with honey and savoured.

Kadur district horticulture department recently organised a workshop, exhibition-cum-sale of different varieties of jackfruit which are locally available, to educate farmers on the various uses of the protein and vitamin-rich fruit as a food item. Sakharayapattana hobali in Kadur taluk, which is called jackfruit hobali as it has more than seven varieties of jackfruits, was prominent in the exhibition. White jackfruit, rudrakshi jackfruit, yellow-pulp jalagahalasu, Chandrahalasu which has red pulp, the soft bakke fruit, onake fruit which has a very long pestle and the large-sized jackfruit called the anaga (elephant fruit) from the hobali, were on display.

Progressive farmer B S Vittala Rao said that a study showed that areca farmers in and around Sakharayapattna having 10-12 different varieties of jackfruit trees in their areca gardens had axed many varieties of jackfruit trees because they thought these large trees were an impediment to the areca trees.

 Courtesy: http://panasamwonders.blogspot.com and others sources


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