Jackfruit- The Jack of all tastes
The heat has begun, afternoons sizzle, we cant bear to look directly at the sun. Water is getting short, gardens are looking parched.However, the pleasures of summer have also started making their appearance. Raw mangoes have begun appearing , so have some random batches of mangoes that have ripened early. Jackfruits have slowly started making their appearance, I have had the pleasure of tasting the first jackfruits of the season and have begun the painstaking process of cleaning the seeds to make my favourite dishes.The state of Kerala where jackfruit is much loved as a vegetable and fruit has declared it as the State fruit. Here is my piece for The Hindu (Thiruvananthapuram Edition) about my memories of jackfruit.
“Almost everybody in Kerala loves ripe jackfruit; however, it is the raw fruit that won my heart, even as a child. I loved and continue to love all preparations with raw jackfruit and its seed; and possess a voracious appetite to eat it uncooked. Even today, if anybody is cleaning a raw jackfruit, I would shamelessly sit beside them to pop a few pods into my mouth. I am told that it would give me a stomach ache, which has never happened.
My indomitable farmer-aunts could make chips that crunched between your teeth satisfyingly with that right amount of crispness without being chewy (a problem with most commercially bought chips). They made chakka varatty that one would kill for, which went into chakka prathaman for Onam or came in small delicious packets back with us to Thiruvananthapuram. This was used as jam and spread or eaten plain till the last bit was licked off the bottom of the container.”