Gone are the days of simply neglecting jackfruits in the courtyard, even in rural households. The jackfruit festival, in Kozhikode, is a platform where entrepreneurs demonstrate the magical power of the traditional Kerala fruit.
To Seetharaman of Wayand, jackfruit is not just a fruit that provides food security once in a while, but a permanent life fruit that earns his family’s livelihood. He says jackfruit can produce as many as food recipes, that too with high values in proteins and medicine.
He explains the methods of making Jackfruit pappadam, a hot item in one of the new varieties of jackfruit culinary.
Seetharaman is running his home based unit of jackfruit dishes at Thrikkaipetta in Wayanad and his items have good market in and outside Kerala.
He says that bulk enquiry for Jackfruit pappadam is from Bangalore.
Monsoon time is the only off -season to this business, says the agriculturist who grows all vegetables and cereals in his farm.
The decline of agriculture in Wayanad forms a big question before human existence, especially for those who had been depending on traditional farming for livelihood.
As an experiment, he turned to jackfruit processing at his home with the technical help of Uravu Wayanad, a non-government organization, promoting indigenous products. He engaged his family also and thereafter he has not looked back; says Seetharaman.
He says there are at least fourty dishes from soups to desserts that can be made using jackfruit. Varikka variety is mostly preferred to prepare different dishes. One glass chakka varatty (jackfruit jam made with sweet jackfruits, ghee and jaggery) is enough to make thirty glasses of payasam with coconut milk.
Hundreds of entrepreneurs like Seethraman are participating in the state jackfruit festival, organized by the Jackfruit Promotion Council at the Govt. Model High School in Kozhikode. Many small and big entrepreneurs, self- help groups, residents associations etc. are also exhibiting their innovations in the fair.
Sri Lankan jackfruit eatables are on display at the exhibition along with Kerala traditional jackfruit dishes like Jack fruit payasam, jackfruit fry or chips and jackfruit puzhukku
Jack fruit pickle, jams, halwa, curries, jackfruit seed Avalos powder, peda, chutney, ice cream, jackfruit juice and what more!
Jackfruit puzhukku (spicy dish made of raw jackfruit) and chicken curry sold at the fest was a great attraction at the fair. Jackfruit seed powder and toffee are some of the items displayed by P.K.Bakers.
‘Even, burgers and cutlets can be made from jackfruit.’-say members of Sreyas Social Service team who also provide technical support to jackfruit farmers and entrepreneurs to prepare value added products.
Visitors had a chance to taste and buy the nostalgic products like Jackfruit unniyappam and jackfruit vadas from the stalls like Ruchi Karshaka Koottayma. This stall is also attracting hundreds of visitors.
Quality jackfruit saplings are also on display for sale.
Books and CDs of recipes are arranged by the Centre of Innovation in Science and Social Action, Thiruvananthapuram. ‘No part of jackfruit is waste. Each and every part of jackfruit can be processed to make dishes’- say Kudumbasree people who participate to sell their jackfruit products.
Many students who visited the exhibition say they have really enjoyed the sight of many new jackfruit dishes.
“Jackfruits are a major seasonal and nutritious food in Kerala households. Traditional homesteads had few jack trees and huge quantities of fruits which were used in different stages- raw as vegetable, fried as chips, used as fresh ripe fruits, or even made into a jam like form named varatty. Still, there were limitations to utilize the fruit from a homestead within a family itself. However with the advent of innovative technology and identification of value addition methods, it helps preserve and process this seasonal fruit and ensures its availability for many months” said Reji Jacob, a keen visitor at the fair.
The festival spreads a message that jackfruit is no more a ‘dump’ fruit that naturally falls down and remains unattended in heaps in rural homesteads; but a golden fruit to make wonders, including food security.
Photo exhibition, art shows and seminars are also being conducted as part of jackfruit festival. The four day fete will conclude on 26th, May 2012.