Here in Orissa, hot season is Jackfruit season. For my fellow gardeners and botanists, Jackfruit are similar to Breadfruit from the South Pacific, both being members of the genus Artocarpus. I'd heard about this fruit elsewhere but of course I have never been around at the right time, so now I am and I just had to try them. The markets are full of the monsters - ugly looking things 1-2 foot long and around 10 inches wide, looking like some giant green hedgehog or armadillo. They are in fact the largest tree borne fruit in the world and can weigh 75 lbs. So no way was I carting one of those home - I bet the driver would try to charge me double for the extra weight! I was also aware that I might not even like it - I certainly am not that keen on Breadfruit when I tasted on board the Soren - and I do hate to waste good food. So I'd more or less consigned this potential eating experience to the back of my mind, when in walks a colleague this morning with some for me. Some time ago she and I had visited her parents house and I had seen a jackfruit tree for the first time in their garden.
What she gave me were the fleshy parts found inside the "armadillo" - fantastic, no worries about how to cut into the fruit . Each of the fleshy parts is about the size of a plum , with a stones to match.
What can I say about the taste? I don't dislike it: I suspect it is an acquired taste, but then again I thought that about yogurt the very first time! Texture wise it is a bit like a cross between mango and lychee and to me it has the same taste note that a lychee has. I don't know what causes it, or how else to describe it, other than it is distinctive.
So far I have managed to eat one, and shared some with my landlady's daughter, but I have kept a few more to eat myself. I am told that you can also use the stones: boiled or roasted like chestnuts, they are used in curries. I'm told you can also eat green i.e. unripe Jackfruit when it is used in savoury dishes in place of meats, but will leave trying that for another time.
For now I made sweet porridge ( yes, I found some Oats when visiting fellow volunteer Susie in Kalahandi ) for breakfast with cashews and raisins, and topped if off with jackfruit and mango slices and grapes.