Wednesday, July 9, 2014

And we all Live in the House of Jackfruit

This is Jackfruit.
Say hello.

This one was 14 pounds when we picked it up from Hong Kong Market, and it was the smallest one available.
The jackfruit has a thick, tough skin that oozes latex sap when cut. The fruit inside is surrounded by "rag," strong, soft fibers much like the equally inedible bits of the inside of an artichoke. The golden fruit encases a large smooth seed, which is further wrapped in a thin lining like hard vellum. The whole fruit smells funky- like an overripe bunch of bananas- and, while not strictly bad-smelling, it's certainly overbearing. The sap is a devil and a test of character. It gets on everything and only oil will remove it. It will cling to and coat your knives, hands, and counters. A thorough rub with peanut butter easily cleaned it up afterwards, but slicing the dang fruit was torturous.
Torturous, but worth it.

The golden insides do not stink or stick and they taste wonderful. It's firm and slick, tasting like perfect mangos and bananas with a hint of pineapple and pear, or an edible pina colada.
The seeds are edible, too, and there are dozens in one jackfruit. They are very starchy and should be boiled until tender in just enough water to cover them. They can be eaten as a snack with salt, pepper, and a light sprinkling of lime juice; or mashed with butter like mashed potatoes; or roasted like chestnuts; or added to a stir fry in lieu of water chestnuts. Just be sure to slip off the vellum-like casings before noshing.

Boiled in water to cover, cleaned of the outer casing,
and tossed with salt, pepper, and lime juice.

The fruit can be eaten plain, and I've taken to chopping a good handful into a bowl of plain yogurt with hemp hearts for breakfast. It can also be added to salsa the same way some folks like to add mango.

It's good cooked too. I've made a Chicken and Jackfruit Curry, Cheese-stuffed Jackfruit, and Caramelized Jackfruit eaten on vanilla ice cream.

Caramelized Jackfruit
Serves 2 generously.

1 tablespoon Butter
1 heaping tablespoon Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/2 cup, well packed, Jackfruit Pieces

Melt the butter and the brown sugar together in a pan over heat, stirring until you have a warm, brown paste.
Add orange juice and stir together until all the lumps are gone.
 Bring juice to a simmer then add Jackfruit. Let it simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, swishing it around with a wooden spoon. Wait until the juices have become thick, syrupy, and reduced like in the picture below. Serve immediately on ice cream.

You'll start with this^, simmer it till it looks like this^

 Then spoon it over ice cream so you can have this!

It's caramel-y, fruity, hot, and oozey. Enjoy!

I'm sorry for going AWOL. I'm happy to be posting again.

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