Botanical Name : Artocarpus heterophyllus
Species: A. heterophyllus
Common Name : Jackfruit
Other Names: Kanthal (in Bengali)
Habitat : THE JACKFRUIT is native to the dense forests of the Western Ghats, but it is now common throughout Asia, Africa and the tropical regions of the Americas.
The Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a species of tree of the mulberry family (Moraceae) and its fruit, native to southwestern India and Sri Lanka, and possibly also east to the Malay Peninsula, though more likely an early human introduction there.
In India It is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day Goa, Kerala, coastal Karnataka, and Maharashtra.
Description: It is an evergreen tree growing to 10-15 m tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, elliptical, 5-25 cm long and 3-12 cm broad, often lobed on young trees but entire on mature trees. The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences 3-7 cm long and 1-2.5 cm broad; the male and female flowers produced on separate inflorescences, the female inflorescences commonly borne on thick branches or the trunk of the tree (cauliflory).
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The fruit is huge, seldom less than about 25 cm in diameter. Even a relatively thin tree (circa 10 cm) can have huge fruits hanging on it. The fruits can reach 36 kg in weight and up to 90 cm long and 50 cm in diameter. The jackfruit is the largest tree borne fruit in the world.
The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item throughout the tropical regions of the world. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh, by name Kanthal in Bengali language. The Jackfruit tree can produce about 100 to 200 fruits in a year.
The sweet yellow sheaths around the seeds are about 3-5 mm thick and have a taste similar to pineapple but milder and less juicy.
Cultivation and uses
Jackfruit is widely grown in South and Southeast Asia. It is also grown in parts of central and eastern Africa, Brazil, and Suriname. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Indonesia.
The jackfruit has played a significant role in the Indian agriculture (and culture) from times immemorial. Archeological findings in India have revealed that jackfruit was cultivated in India 3000 to 6000 years ago. Findings also indicate that Indian Emperor Ashoka the Great (274 – 237 BC) encouraged arbori-horticulture of various fruits including jackfruit. Varahamihira, the famous Indian astronomer, mathemetician, and astrologer wrote a chapter on the treatment of trees in his Brhat Samhita. One of the highlights of his treatise is a specific reference on grafting to be done on trees such as jackfruit. A method of grafting described was what is known today as ‘wedge grafting’. One of the earliest descriptions of the jackfruit is to be found in the 16th century memoirs of the Mughal Emperor Babar, who was not much enamored of it:
“The jackfruit is unbelievably ugly and bad tasting. It looks exactly like sheep intestines turned inside out like stuffed tripe. It has a cloyingly sweet taste. Inside it has seeds like hazelnuts that mostly resemble dates, but these seeds are round, not long. The flesh of these seeds, which is what is eaten, is softer than dates. It is sticky, and for that reason some people grease their hands and mouths before eating it. The fruit is said to grow on the branches, the trunk, and the roots of the tree and looks like stuffed tripe hung all over the tree”.
The jackfruit is something of an acquired taste, but it is very popular in many parts of the world. A unopened ripe fruit can have a unpleasant smell, like rotting onions. The lightbrown to black seeds with white innards are indeed about the size of dates. People often oil their hands with coconut oil, kerosene/parafin before preparing jackfruit, as the rest of the mass of the fruit is a loose white mass that bleeds a milky sticky sap, often used as glue.
Unripe jackfruit is cooked and eaten in Bengal..as vegetable curry..the curry is very popular and tasty.
A kutiyapi, made of jackfruit wood. The jackfruit bears fruit three years after planting.
In the United States and Europe, the fruit is available in shops that sell exotic products, usually sold canned with a sugar syrup or frozen. It is also obtained fresh from Asian food markets. Sweet jackfruit chips are also often available.
The wood is used for the production of musical instruments in Indonesia as part of the gamelan and in the Philippines, where its soft wood can be made into the hull of a kutiyapi, a type of Philippine boat lute. It is also used to make the body of the Indian drums mridangam and kanjira. It is also widely used for manufacture of furniture.
Toxicity: Even in India there is some resistance to the jackfruit, attributed to the belief that overindulgence in it causes digestive ailments. Burkill declares that it is the raw, unripe fruit that is astringent and indigestible. The ripe fruit is somewhat laxative; if eaten in excess it will cause diarrhea. Raw jackfruit seeds are indigestible due to the presence of a powerful trypsin inhibitor. This element is destroyed by boiling or baking.
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In some areas, the jackfruit is fed to cattle. The tree is even planted in pastures so that the animals can avail themselves of the fallen fruits. Surplus jackfruit rind is considered a good stock food.
Leaves: Young leaves are readily eaten by cattle and other livestock and are said to be fattening. In India, the leaves are used as food wrappers in cooking, and they are also fastened together for use as plates.
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The seeds, which appeal to all tastes, may be boiled or roasted and eaten, or boiled and preserved in sirup like chestnuts. They have also been successfully canned in brine, in curry, and, like baked beans, in tomato sauce. They are often included in curried dishes. Roasted, dried seeds are ground to make a flour which is blended with wheat flour for baking.
Latex: The latex serves as birdlime, alone or mixed with Ficus sap and oil from Schleichera trijuga Willd. The heated latex is employed as a household cement for mending chinaware and earthenware, and to caulk boats and holes in buckets. The chemical constituents of the latex have been reported by Tanchico and Magpanlay. It is not a substitue for rubber but contains 82.6 to 86.4% resins which may have value in varnishes. Its bacteriolytic activity is equal to that of papaya latex.
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Wood: Jackwood is an important timber in Ceylon and, to a lesser extent, in India; some is exported to Europe. It changes with age from orange or yellow to brown or dark-red; is termite proof, fairly resistant to fungal and bacterial decay, seasons without difficulty, resembles mahogany and is superior to teak for furniture, construction, turnery, masts, oars, implements, brush backs and musical instruments. Palaces were built of jackwood in Bali and Macassar, and the limited supply was once reserved for temples in Indochina. Its strength is 75 to 80% that of teak. Though sharp tools are needed to achieve a smooth surface, it polishes beautifully. Roots of old trees are greatly prized for carving and picture framing. Dried branches are employed to produce fire by friction in religious ceremonies in Malabar.
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From the sawdust of jackwood or chips of the heartwood, boiled with alum, there is derived a rich yellow dye commonly used for dyeing silk and the cotton robes of Buddhist priests. In Indonesia, splinters of the wood are put into the bamboo tubes collecting coconut toddy in order to impart a yellow tone to the sugar. Besides the yellow colorant, morin, the wood contains the colorless cyanomaclurin and a new yellow coloring matter, artocarpin, was reported by workers in Bombay in 1955. Six other flavonoids have been isolated at the National Chemical Laboratory, Poona.
Bark: There is only 3.3% tannin in the bark which is occasionally made into cordage or cloth.
Dishes and preparations
Jackfruit is commonly used in South and Southeast Asian cuisines. It can be eaten unripe (young) or ripe, and cooked or uncooked. The seeds can also be used in certain recipes.
Unripe (young) jackfruit is also eaten whole, cooked as a vegetable. Young jackfruit has a mild flavour and distinctive texture. The cuisines of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Vietnam use cooked young jackfruit. In many cultures, jackfruit is boiled and used in curries as a food staple.
The tree is common in hundreds of thousands of Indian homes, and it provides food and shade along vast stretches of our national highways, riverbanks and railways.In India it is eaten as vegetable when green and as delicious fruit when ripen.
It provides shade to cash crops like coffee, betel nut, cardamom and pepper that need it.
The ripe fruit smells like rotting onions from the outside, but the fruit flesh inside smells like banana or pineapple. Unripe fruit can be sliced and cooked like green plantain.
The sticky smelly latex it exudes when cut is difficult to wash away, so it is wise to rub the knife and palms with oil before getting down to dicing and slicing.
The ripe fruit bulbs are delicious raw or as ice cream, jelly, chutney, syrup and jam.
The pulp, when boiled in milk, yields delicious orange-toned custard, while frying dry, salted bulbs serves up an alternative to potato chips.
The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, is a world leader in devising methods to preserve and candy jackfruit pulp.
They came up with a canning method that lets the fruit retain its beta-carotene content for up to two years.
The pulp yields heady liquor when fermented. The seeds can be curried, eaten roasted, soaked in sweet syrup, or even ground up to yield flour for blending with wheat flour.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, eating the ripe fruit counteracts the harmful effects of alcohol on the body.
The fruit is nearly as calorie-dense as the custard apple. Hundred grams of the edible flesh, including the seeds, contains almost 100 calories, most of it as sugar and starch.
The flesh is rich in beta-carotene and potassium, while the seeds are rich in thiamine and riboflavin-B vitamins.
Eating uncooked, unripe fruit can cause indigestion; the culprit is an enzyme that inhibits the gut’s protein-digesting enzyme, trypsin. Cooking destroys this inhibitor.
The ripe fruit increases gut motility and can cause diarrhoea in those who eat too much of it.
Jackwood contains morin and a crystalline constituent, cyanomaclurin, probably isomeric with catechins.
· Root: antiasthmatic.
· Ripe fruit: demulcent, nutritive, laxative.
· Unripe fruit: astringent.
· Pulp or flesh: surrounding the seed is aromatic, cooling and tonic.
High carbohydrate content. The young fruit is also a vegetable. The pulp (lamukot) surrounding the seeds is sweet and aromatic, rich in vitamin C, eaten fresh or cooked or preserved. The seeds are boiled or roasted. The unripe fruit can be pickled.
· Skin diseases, ulcers and wounds: Mix the burnt ashes of leaves (preferably fresh) with coconut oil, and as ointment, apply to affected areas.
· Diarrhea, fever and asthma: A decoction of the root (preferably chopped into small pieces before boiling) of the tree, three to four cups daily.
· Glandular swelling and snake bites: Apply the milky juice of the tree. When mixed with vinegar, it is especially beneficial for glandular swelling and abscesses, promoting absorption and suppuration.
· The ripe fruit is laxative; in large quantities, it produces diarrhea.
· The roasted seeds believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
· Fruit used to flavor and age lambanog believed to increased alcohol potency.
· Tree latex is used as bird lime; and heated makes a good cement for china.
Jack fruit is a common medicinal tree in this part of Chhattisgarh in India. The herb collectors use its bark for cracks in Lips. In form of aqueous paste bark is applied. The herb collectors extract the juice from Ama (Mango) and Kathal (Jack fruit) bark and mix it in equal ratio. In this combination, Chuna (Lime water) pani is added and used internally in treatment of dysentery.
The Chinese consider jackfruit pulp and seeds tonic, cooling and nutritious, and to be “useful in overcoming the influence of alcohol on the system.” The seed starch is given to relieve biliousness and the roasted seeds are regarded as aphrodisiac. The ash of jackfruit leaves, burned with corn and coconut shells, is used alone or mixed with coconut oil to heal ulcers. The dried latex yields artostenone, convertible to artosterone, a compound with marked androgenic action. Mixed with vinegar, the latex promotes healing of abscesses, snakebite and glandular swellings. The root is a remedy for skin diseases and asthma. An extract of the root is taken in cases of fever and diarrhea. The bark is made into poultices. Heated leaves are placed on wounds. The wood has a sedative property; its pith is said to produce abortion.
The Chinese were among the first to recognise the nutrition potential of the seeds, but their views on the aphrodisiacal (?) nature of the seeds are not rooted in reality.
In other cultures, the ash of the leaves is a traditional antiseptic. The latex is a folk cure for snakebites, abscesses and lymph node swelling.
Root decoction is an old cure for fever, diarrhoea, asthma and skin diseases.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:.hinduonnet.com. , en.wikipedia and .hort.purdue.edu and http://www.stuartxchange.org/Langka.html