As demand for mangoes are waning, jackfruits from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh are making their mark at fruit-markets of Vellore. Unlike Kerala where jackfruits are grown under irrigated conditions, dry cultivation method adopted in Tamil Nadu and AP makes the fruit more durable and tasty, claim vendors at the market. When compared with previous years, the rainfall has been less in South India this year and hence there is much demand for the seasonal fruit, they said.
The jackfruit is available in two different varieties. In Koozha Chakka variety, the fruits have small, fiberous, soft, mushy but very sweet carpels with a texture somewhat akin to raw oysters. The other variety called Varika is crispy and almost crunchy though not quite as sweet.
Jayaram, a vendor from Telengana area in AP, described the jackfruit pulp and seeds as tonic, cooling and nutritious and said “it is useful in overcoming the influence of alcohol.”
The seed starch is used to relieve gastric disorders and the roasted seeds are considered aphrodisiac. The ash of jackfruit leaves, burned with corn and coconut shells, is used alone or mixed with coconut oil to heal ulcers, Jayaram added.
Mixed with vinegar, the latex helps in healing abscesses, snakebite and glandular swellings, the vendor said. An extract of the root can cure cases of fever and diarrhoea, he added.
Another vendor, Janardhana Reddy, said that the bulbs may be enjoyed raw or cooked with coconut milk to prepare ‘payasam’ or ‘sambar’ or made into ice cream, chutney, jam, papad, or canned-in syrup mixed with sugar or honey and citric acid.