Saturday, April 11, 2015

'J' is for Jackfruit. A to Z Challenge Day 10.

I love jack fruit. I always have. Ripe, the fruit is nice and juicy. Many people dislike the smell but I don't mind it. The ripe fruit has a fleshy seed which can be boiled and used in delicious curries. The raw jack-fruit too can be used in curries. In Bengal we call it "gaach pantha" or "mutton growing on trees", it is cooked just like mutton curry and (arguably) tastes almost as good!

Having said that, when I was in college, although I loved jack-fruit, I knew jack-shit about it.

One day, I was sitting outside the room I rented and generally watching the world go by when I spotted a lady vendor carrying a fairly large ripe jack-fruit which she was trying to sell. I was tempted, it had been a very long time since I had had that particular fruit.
A deal was struck, the jack-fruit was mine!
I put in on the floor of my room and set to work with this huge knife I possessed.
Within minutes, I knew there was something wrong.
In ten minutes I was sweating and heaving, there was a white gum oozing from every pore of the fruit, my hands were sticky and itchy and it was all over the floor, my hands and my clothes. Far from reaching the fruit, I had managed to cut my hand and slice into the flesh of the fruit without extracting a single bulb of fruit. It was a disaster.
Just as I was contemplating screaming for help, I saw the neighbour's maid passing. I called her and told her to remove the offensive thing from my floor! She gently laughed, lectured me softly in Marathi (a dialect I did not understand) and left. Taking the damn thing with her.

I spent days trying to get that goo off my arms and legs and the floor. I had to sacrifice the pair of shorts and the tee I had been wearing when I embarked on my little adventure. the knife could never be put to any good use thereafter. I swore I would never look at the fruit (vicious little animal) again!

Later, much later, I learnt what I did wrong. My mother heard and started laughing. "oh, you should have put some oil on your hands before your started... you should have oiled the knife... "

Suffice to say I have never ventured to cut a ripe jack-fruit ever again.

I still eat it though... when I see the bulbs being sold in the market. Or in Thailand where they sell the delicious ripe yellow bulbs in little containers with cling-film on top!


  1. Well, I belong to the 'don't care for jackfruit' club. It's the smell, it is all permeating and takes up all my space.

  2. Mm. Entire family is in that club. I understand. :)

  3. I've never heard of this fruit before. Now I'm curious. I will have to Google it. Sounds like a very challenging food!!

  4. All the best Nancy, I do hope you get a chance to taste the fruit and decide for yourself!