Friday, October 8, 2010

How many times since coming to Uganda have we exclaimed -- "What is that?"
Living all my life in a desert means many firsts when you come to the tropics.  We had seen these odd, huge things hanging in trees and for sale on the side of the road and were told they were jackfruit, very sweet.    When we've been out in the villages we see children eating this strange fruit and relishing every bite.

We tried to buy a jackfruit when we were out in Wakiso.  We had Ssimbwa try to purchase one but because we are muzungus and Ssimbwa (not a muzungu) was riding in our nice, brand new truck the lady asked an exorbitant price of 20,000 shillings ($10) which we refused to pay. 

So when we were out in Masaka I announced to everyone that would listen that I was going to buy a Jackfruit before I left town. 

When we got ready to leave Eddie rode with us to the outskirts of the town to a roadside market and purchased a Jackfruit so I could have the experience. He warned me that I should wear gloves when cutting the jackfruit as it has a very sticky latex type sap that sticks to everything it touches including the knife and your hands.
We got home late and set the jackfruit in the kitchen.  The next morning there was this odd, rather nasty smell in our kitchen.  I thought the garbage was smelling but no, it was the Jackfruit.    Farrell refused to cut the thing open so it was left to me to have the Jackfruit experience. 

I got on the internet and found a video tutorial on cutting jackfruit  (who puts this stuff on the internet anyway).  I got some news paper and covered the counter put oil on the knife and my hands as a precaution (the sap) and attacked the giant green thing. 
"Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, reaching 80 pounds in weight and up to 36 inches long and 20 inches in diameter. The exterior of the compound fruit is green or yellow when ripe. The interior consists of large edible bulbs of yellow, banana-flavored flesh that encloses a smooth, oval, light-brown seed. The seed is 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick and is white and crisp within. There may be 100 or up to 500 seeds in a single fruit, which are viable for no more than three or four days. When fully ripe, the unopened jackfruit emits a strong disagreeable odor, resembling that of decayed onions, while the pulp of the opened fruit smells of pineapple and banana." (Wikipedia )
I believe it!  This fruit is another one of those interesting creations. It does have a sticky sap that glombed on to the knife and refused to let go.  It stuck to everything it touched.  

Seems all of this fruit is useful.  The seeds can be roasted and eaten like chestnuts or ground and steeped for tea.  Ssimbwa said that the tea is used for controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes.  The fiberous inside around the fruit is boiled and eaten like a vegetable (didn't try that).  He also said that when he was a young boy that they use to use the outer peel to comb their hair. 

It is rather spiny and could be used like one of those round plastic, palm brushes that my brothers use to use for their flattop haircuts. 

But look at the beautiful pockets of fruit nestled inside this monster.  You can cut them out intact to eat.  The texture is firm and somewhat chewy and has a pleasant taste that is a combination of mango, pineapple and papya. 

Why does it have to be so huge.  It took me forever to dissect the fruit from the fruit and I only dissected half of it.  I tried giving the left over half to Sis. Beachley but she refused and said, "I'm not going to eat that, it stinks!"  Farrell ate some and we made our guests who came to dinner try it as none of them had eaten it before. 
 I finally gave the other half to Henry our apt. manager who was delighted.  He loves to eat and will eat anything.  After about 4 days I told Christine, our housekeeper, to take the rest home as i felt we had had our fill.

So that was the Jackfruit experience.  The only real negative to the experience was that sticky sap.  I washed the knife and my hands with soap, bleach, and cleanser to no avail.  I still had sap everywhere.  WD40 to the rescue.  You can conquor anything with WD40 . . . oh and duck tape both of which (by the way) you can get in Kampala.

I love Jackfuit!  Will I ever buy another jackfruit?  I doubt it.

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