Jul222011

Adventures with Jack Fruit

You may, Gentle Reader, before we start, cast your mind back to my New Years goals. Or not. I mean, why would you remember mine, you have your own to contend with?

Anyway, one of mine was to try and eat a new fruit/vegetable each month. Fortunately for me I spend a good deal of my time in San Francisco these days, wherein a goodly number of peculiar flora lurk amongst the Drinks with Stuff of various Vietnamese/Chinese/Japanese markets.

My favorite thing on earth.

Witness the following scene. The AB and I wandering the neighborhood.

Gail spots a massive great ruddy fruit. “Oh, lookie lookie!”
AB, “What is it?”
Gail, “Jack fruit!”
AB, “Are you sure it doesn’t want to take over the world.”
Gail, “Honnnnneyyy, can I buy a jack fruit?”
AB, “How will we get it home, it must weigh 40 lbs?”
Gail, “Pleeeeease?”
AB, “Sigh.”

It was quite the workout getting it home. Here we are with our Jackfruit baby.

Oh but this is only the beginning of the saga. You must properly appreciate how huge this puppy was! Here is it with a standard cantaloupe and a wine bottle for scale.

I, with my usual disregard for life and limb, grab up a cutting board and a knife and slice in.

The AB, a most Professor Lyall-like individual, goes to hunt down information on the internet on the appropriate ways to tackle a jackfruit. He finds a video from a fruitarian, which he insists I watch, and further information indicating that perhaps I ought to don some safety gear. Out come gloves and an apron.

Gail goes for broke! And lemme tell you, Gentle Reader, I was really sawing at this tough sticky thing. I nearly lost a finger. Sweat and tears!

Here I am pointing out the reason for all the effort and the stickiness and the gloves: Jackfruit is a source of natural latex. We had to stop and coat things in olive oil. (Knives would prove impossible to clean.)

And for the next 2 hours I dissected that jackfruit. Extracting fruit pods, seeds, and, lots of unwanted latex.

The fruit is chewy and not very juicy but tastes exactly like Juicy Fruit Gum. It’s very sweet, a bit perfumey, and rather intense and overpowering. I ended up freezing most of it and now it’s promised to my friend Paul (the inspiration for Tunstell) who is going to try to turn it into a booze of some kind.

I boiled the seeds to see what they tasted like: Basically dry chestnuts.

All in all not an unqualified success.

The AB’s opinion?

“At least I will have an interesting story to tell at work on Monday.”

Quote of the Day:

“I never wanted to be a writer. I don’t want to be one now. To me, writing is not an occupation; it’s not a job; it’s not an avocation. It’s a response to life. I’ve never understood people who say, “I decided to be a writer.” That’s like saying you want to be a pine tree. Either you are a pine tree, or you are not.”

~ Gregory Mcdonald

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

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