There are so many jackfruit trees at Unakanda that we could almost start a side industry of jackfruit farming. Every single part of the tree can be used.
The timber is lovely. We have a couple of antique pieces and the dining table and chairs Tim designed are made from recycled jack wood. The timber is used in Sri Lanka to make musical instruments as well as furniture and in buildings. The leaves and roots are used in ayurvedic medicine as is the fruit. And Buddhist monks traditionally used jackfruit to dye their robes.
The fruit hangs from the trees in huge big bumpy oval shaped balls, looking a bit like massive alien eggs. The fruit itself, is also a bit alien. The smell is, well, special. I have heard some say it tastes a bit like a tart banana. Our reluctance to eat the unfamiliar jackfruit is a bit of a shame really as jackfruit is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly potassium, calcium and iron, has very little fat and sugar.
The Sri Lankans use the fruit in a variety of cooked dishes and also process it to make products such as flours noodles, ice-cream and polos (pickles and chutneys). The fruit can be eaten ripe, green (in curries) and dried. Even the seed of the jackfruit can be eaten.
In the past few weeks I have come across quite a few articles on using green jackfruit flesh as a meat replacement. As a mostly vegetarian – aspiring vegan, this in principal sounds amazing – but does it taste great too? My goal on my next visit to Unawatuna is to try out some jackfruit savoury dishes such as jackfruit curry and BBQ ‘pulled’ jackfruit. If delicious they would be a great addition to our Unakanda recipe book (it’s in the book shelf under the tv!).