There’s a strange smell in the air. Must be…

 

Jackfruit!

Flower and young fruit growing from a jackfruit trunk

Jackfruit is grown throughout the tropics but is thought to have originated in this area of India, archaeological evidence shows that it was cultivate in India 3,000 years ago – and maybe as long as 6,000 years ago!

It has the largest fruit growing on any tree, weighing up to 80lbs (36kg)!  It can be 3 feet (90cm) long and 20 inches (50cm) in diameter.  It is so big and heavy that it grows directly from the trunk of the tree rather than from a branch.

Mature jackfruit

The fruit can be eaten fresh or sometimes as chips (deep fried like banana chips – if fried in coconut oil the taste is fantastic!).  It has a very strong, pungent scent (hence the title of this post!) but the fruit is sweet and a great source of fibre in your diet.

In India jackfruit wood is used to make the body of a stringed instrument called a veena and drums called kanjira and mridangam.  The best quality jackfruit timber is a beautiful yellow colour with a clear and distinct grain which is used for building houses and making furniture in parts of southern India.  In Hindu ceremonies in Kerala the priest often sits on a polished plank of wood from the jackfruit.  In parts of southeast Asia Buddhist monks use the heartwood of the tree to make a dye for their robes (it is light-brown in colour and mainly used by Buddhists who follow the Thai forest tradition).

During jackfruit season you will see stalls all along the sides of the road selling the fruit to hungry passers-by.  But it’s not only humans who like the taste as you can see from these pictures taken in Thekkady (on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala).

This tastes good!

Can I have some?

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3 thoughts on “There’s a strange smell in the air. Must be…

  1. YUM!!! We used to have something very similar — perhaps it’s the same thing, simply another term? Breadfruit! (I was raised in the South Pacific, in Micronesia.) I miss it soooo much. We used to do exactly what you say — cut it in thin slices, and fry it up — and of course add salt. 🙂 So good. So very, very good.

    • I’ve just looked up breadfruit on the internet (what would we do without the www!) According to the article I read it is related to jackfruit but not the same (smaller and more rounded I think).
      I must look out for some breadfruit round here and try it!

      • Ahhh, don’t you know it! I worked in publishing when the Web really took off, and I can recall how RESEARCH changed. It’s phenomenal — I’m still completely in awe.

        I bet they have some taste-similarities; but you’re right… I must now try jackfruit, heh!! (You’ll love breadfruit!)

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