I learned something new!
What is that something new, you ask? I learned how to evaluate, choose, remove from the tree, open, de-seed, and prepare a new fruit for eating – Jackfruit! Do you remember this post way back at the end of June talking about Jackfruit? Well, the tree I told you about is finally bearing its GIANT fruit, and had one ready to pick today.
Our friend and neighbor, Phii Mee, looked after my flowers and garden while we were away in the States for a month, and she enjoyed a few of the fruits that had ripened in the meantime. Upon going to visit her this morning, she said she thought there should be another ready today, and offered to come by this afternoon to check on it – if it was ready, then she would also stay and teach me how to open it.
Wait a second, I need to be taught how to open a piece of fruit? Yes. Absolutely yes. This is no ordinary piece of fruit. Nothing like an apple, a banana, a pear, or a peach. It’s a completely and entirely different animal. A scary and defiant animal, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Why? Here’s a reminder of what they look like from the outside.
As mentioned in my previous jackfruit post, these are one of (if not THE) largest tree-borne fruits in the world. The one we opened today was about the size of one and a half basketballs – it was just a little guy, though there’s one much larger way up high in our tree right now that needs a couple more weeks to ripen.
Aside from their massive size, another thing that makes these suckers so difficult to open is their sap. Once removed from their stem, they begin to ooze a thick, white, latex-like substance (think of that fabric & craft glue in the USA, that comes in the gold squeezy bottle – Aleene’s, I think?) from every place imaginable… from the place where the stem came off, from any nicks in its flesh, and from many of the points on the jackfruit skin’s many little bumps. It is stiiiiiiicky! Thankfully, my friend told me to slather my knife, my machete, and my hands in vegetable oil before getting to work – that kept everything from getting destroyed and covered with jackfruit glue.
So, how exactly do you open it? And why on earth would it take two people a full hour to get all of the fruit out? Take a look at step one of the process.
Step two –
Step three –
Step four –
Now, jackfruit is an interesting fruit when it comes to both aroma and flavor. People usually either like it or they don’t. I’m one of the strange ones that has conditions that must be met in order for me to down a whole bowl of it – it has to be really, really cold, or served as part of this dessert (which will be featured soon in Tasty Tuesdays, as it is one of my favorite desserts in all of the world, literally!). Now, when I wrote about it before, I wasn’t quite sure how to explain the jackfruit’s characteristics, as I’d never actually participated in the picking and opening of the fresh fruit before – I’d only ever bought small containers of it already prepared in the market. Now I can tell you.
One of the biggest giveaways as to knowing when the fruit is ready to be picked is that it gives off a smell when you put your nose right up to it. And, what is it that I smelled? Amoxicillin. Yes, the pink, liquid form of the medicine that I had (and loved the flavor of) as a kid. I’m sure most of you know exactly what I’m talking about, right? It had sort of a fruity, bubblegum sort of scent. Now, based on its smell, would you care to guess then what the fruit actually tasted like? Right again – amoxicillin! It’s got that same fruity, bubblegum, not quite ripe banana flavor (which I am told gets sweeter a few days after picking)… and I like it. Brook doesn’t, though, so I guess that means more for me, eh?