Before the fleshy jackfruit became the state fruit of Kerala, it enjoyed the glorious position of being the national fruit for Bangladesh.
Ever since Kerala recognised the relevance of this humble backyard fruit, there have been attempts to promote a healthy chakka-base diet, in which jackfruit is used to replace meat in various dishes.
Jackfruit is one of the biggest fruits ever with the large ones weighing about 35 kg. There have been many novel recipes like jackfruit mint smoothie, barbecue jackfruit sandwich, jackfruit tuna melt sandwich and jackfruit mango smoothie devised by various organizations like the website 'jackfruitday.com'.
It’s sad that half of our jackfruit wealth is being wasted. There used to be a time when whatever was left over of the fruit would be dried and preserved for use later. People used to bury the seeds in a bid to keep them for the lean months. However, almost half of what’s produced in the state is tossed into garbage bins.
What the docs say
Diabetics went crazy over the revelation that consuming the fruit in its raw form would keep their glucose levels under control. The fact that raw jackfruit would bring sugar levels down thereby helping diabetics cut down on their insulin shots was a stunning piece of information that created a revolution of sorts. Here was a backyard fruit, hitherto taken for granted for its easy availability, becoming an overnight saviour of diabetic patients.
The chakka became an overnight sensation, with people ditching their chappathis and kanji for chakka puzhukku.
However, here’s a word of caution. Since the fruit in its raw state can bring down high sugar, patients already hooked on diabetic medication and insulin shots are advised to go easy on the fruit in consultation with their doctor. Once the fruit becomes part of their daily diet, it’s recommended that patients check their sugar levels every day, lest it should drop to a dangerously low level.
Patients are also to keep a tab on the ingredients that go with the puzhukku like the quantity of oil, coconut and salt used. The low level of carbs and the fruit fibres that don’t get absorbed by the body are factors that bring down sugar. Since its protein content too is pretty low, it’s best to eat chakka along with protein-rich food like fish, meat, pulses and cereals.
Rich in vitamins
This giant-sized king of fruits is a storehouse of vitamins. It’s rich in minerals, iron, calcium and potassium. All parts of the fruit are edible. The outer skin, the filmy white strips (chakini), and the seeds are in high demand for their edible properties. The chakkakuru fry is a Pathanamthitta special. The seeds are scraped, boiled and then fried with shallots and curry leaves.
A medicine called chakka
Ayurveda swears by the wondrous cancer-curing properties of the jackfruit. It says the fruit contains a medical remedy for cancer of the intestines. An alkaline fruit, once it reaches the intestines, it accelerates the digestive process and prevents dehydration.