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Jackfruit- Background, History, and Origin of a Unique Fruit

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Jackfruit, Artocarpus Heterophyllus, is said to originate from the Western Ghats although no one is definite on this. It grows in rain forests and along low-elevations through out India, Burma, Ceylon, Southern China, Malaya, some small parts of Australia and the East Indies. It was introduced into Florida in approximately 1887 but few trees now remain. The jackfruit comes from a very large and bushy tree, which is also used for shade, and can range from 30-70 tall with glossy, green, leathery leaves. The fruit is the largest tree borne fruit and can range from 8 inches to 3 feet in length and 6-20 inches wide. These fruits can weigh anywhere from 10-60 and have been reported up to almost 200 pounds. The fruit is yellowish green in appearance and has numerous cone points on its skin. The fruit is suspected to taste like juicy fruit gum, bananas and nectarines combined. The seeds can vary from ¾ to 1 ½ inches in length and there can be anywhere from 100 to 500 seeds in a single fruit. A milky white latex rubber surrounds all of the seeds.

Jackfruit only come in only two varieties but the names very from area to area the basic types are “Khuja” which is green, hard and smooth, with juicy pulp and small seeds and “Ghila” which is rough, soft, has thin pulp, isn’t very juicy, and has large seeds. This fruit has very picky growing conditions which are only in tropical or near-tropical climates which require a very hot, humid, and wet weather constantly. The soil this plant needs must be rich, deep soil of medium or open texture. The tree cannot stand wet feet and if the roots touch water it may not bear fruit or may die. The temperature must be a constant 75 degrees or up and must have a humidity of at least 85%. This plant produces its fruit by normaly wind pollination or by human hand. This plant has both male and female parts to it, males’ form in oblong clusters on the tree while female clusters are rounded. This fruit is germinated for up to 3-8 weeks if done naturally but can be speed up to germinate in as little as 24 hours if left to soak in water.

If this water is a 10% solution of gibberellic acid it results in 100% germination. The plant is than propagated and is nursery cared until there is no less than food leaves. These seedlings are than planted after roots begin to grow more rapid and thicker. This fruit is harvested by hand 3 through 8 months before flowering. The fruits are cut down by hand usually with a machete and than brought on trucks to be driven to market. This tree yields many fruits per year varying from150 to 500 fruit per tree per year depending on the size of the tree. Jackfruits do not have a very long shelf life they can be stored from 3 to 6 weeks in cold storage of 52 to 55 degrees with 85 to 95 % relative humidity. When the fruit deteriates it turns a brown color and gives off a pungent scent. Pests that affect this fruit are the shoot borer caterpilliar; mealybugs; the spittle bug; jack scale; the stem and fruit borer; the brown bud weevil; longicorn beetles; leaf Webbers; aphids; and thrips. Diseases also affect this fruit these can vary from pink disease; stem rot; fruit rot; male inflorescence rot; leaf spot; fungi; gray blight; charcoal rot; collar rot; and rust.

Although the jackfruit is not toxic it is said if raw fruit is eaten in excess it can act as a laxative, and cause digestive ailments. Also the raw seeds are indigestible because of a powerful trypsin inhibitor. This tree has other uses besides the fruit it bears the leaves are feed to cattle and are used for wrapping for food. In India, the latex that is in plentiful amounts in this tree is used as cement and a sealant and is mixed with other saps to cause stronger and longer lasting sealants. Also the wood from the tree resembles mahogany, ages well, is termite proof, resists decay fairly well, and is very strong. The saw dust of this tree is boilded along with other things to make a yellow dye commony used for dying materials. The bark is also used railrly to make cloth even though it having only 3.3% tannin. There are many good recipies on the internet for jack fruit many of which I would like to try some day but this is they one that made my mouth water the most.

Double-Baked Jackfruit Dunking Biscuits

250ml whole, unblanched


2 eggs

160ml sugar

500ml unsifted flour

5ml sodium bicarbonate

6 pieces of finely

minced jackfruit arils

Roast nuts at 180ºC for 10 minutes and leave to cool.

Beat eggs and sugar, add all other ingredients, except the almonds .

Mix the rather dry dough by hand; if dry material cannot be worked in, add another egg.

Add almonds. Knead to distribute these well.

Divide dough into three equal parts. Elongate and flatten to produce strips of 50 x 300mm.

Place on a baking paper covered biscuit tray with 50mm gaps separating the strips.

Bake at 150ºC for 50 minutes.

Transfer “loaves” to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 12mm slices.

Lay slices on their sides, on the used baking paper and bake for another 40 minutes at 150ºC.

Finely cut dried fruit could be used in lieu of the jackfruit, but another egg may be required.

This is a very crunchy biscuit, suited to revive the custom of dunking a biscuit in tea or coffee -or into a good port wine in an emergency!

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