bad," "You eat this ugly fruit? "Derrick jumped back from the
large fruit cut opened with a machete.
smells good for me and tasty too," Juggernaut pulled a slippery,
glossy yellow flesh covering a large seed and placed in his mouth
savoring its taste to full extent. The golden yellow fleshy
covering of a large seed is the sweetest part of the fruit that
can be eaten fresh while the large seeds are like chestnuts
roasted, boiled or fried as chips.
"We feed these prickly unripe green fruits to pigs on
the island, they like it bad," said Derrick getting up and
looking at a tree with shiny green leaves and gigantic fruits
hanging loose from its branches and the tree trunk.
"What you call this tree here?"
"We call Jackfruit tree."
"Do you know as early as in 250 years B.C., Emperor
Ashoka the Great of India declared Jackfruit as we know today as
the Fruit of the Gods and encouraged its propagation throughout
the subcontinent as we know now as India? The Portuguese traders
visiting South India in early 1500 have mispronounced its local
name 'chakka' as 'jaka' and the fruit was stuck with the name
'Jackfruit.' What an improbable name? The Jackfruit got a bad
rap from Portuguese folly. The bad boy of all fruits, weighs up
to 80 pounds deserves a better name; say 'Bad Boy' 'Sweet Heaven'
or 'Hang Loose' since these fruits hang loose from trunk of the
tree. Any one of these names best describe its appearance and
taste. Now we stuck with this irrelevant name 'Jackfruit', we can
only hope to change it by marketing with one of those fancy names
to make it popular. Is it not 'Kiwi Fruit' alias for 'Chinese
Gooseberry' became more popular with its alias?"
Dumbfounded and silent, not able to digest all that
information, Derrick looked at Juggernaut in disbelief thinking
what triggered Juggernaut to get so emotional about a fruit that
Juggernaut took a deep breath and got a grip on himself
realizing that he was overtaken by the emotions on the injustice
done to the fruit known as Jackfruit everywhere except in its
The name 'Jackfruit' is non starter. Unless people
tasted one, saw a real one or at least saw a picture of it, very
few know how a Jackfruit looks like. It is an enormous fruit that
weighs up to 80 pounds with prickly outer coat with shades of
green to yellow green, hangs from the tree branches and the
trunk. What is inside the fruit is totally misrepresented and
grossly diminished by its look. To cut open the fruit is tedious
because of sticky material that slows down the progress. One has
to apply plenty oil to the hands and knife before handling the
fruit to cut open to prevent white gummy latex like material
sticking to the finger and the knife. Once the fruit is cut
opened, a unique aroma comes out to either please some or totally
put off others. The cross section exposes oval shaped slippery,
shiny yellow flesh surrounding each seed that looks like a
chestnut. Long, thin, white ribbon like material intertwines like
a loose net around the yellow flesh. It is the yellow flesh is
the sweetest part of the fruit.
Why anybody has to go through all this? It all about
acquired taste. Unless somebody was exposed to eating this fruit
from childhood, it is impossible to enjoy its unique flavor. It
is sweet alright but its aroma will put-off anybody who was not
familiar eating it from childhood.
unripe fruit is used as a vegetable. It is easy to cut open to
use as a vegetable rather than as a fruit. The prickly rind is
removed with a sharp knife and the inner content is chopped into
bits and pieces and curried to eat with steamed rice. It is more
popular as a vegetable since the objectionable aroma associated
with fruit is absent with the green unripe fruit.
"It seems you were
emotionally attached to this fruit," said Derrick wrapping the
fruit pieces with news paper and loading onto the Land
"I am; you know I came
from a region where these fruit trees were cultivated on a large
scale," "I never expected to see this fruit tree on the island
and pleasantly surprised to see one."
"Perhaps the British have
brought it here from India, you know," "Your wife will be happy
to share the fruit with you saar," said Derrick shaking his head
with a smile exposing his shiny white teeth.
Next day morning
Juggernaut jumped from the bed just to hear "Something smelling
funny in the kitchen, have you brought something last night," his
wife was screaming.