Jackfruit / Artocarpus heterophyllus is a vegetable crop relished all over the world. It can be eaten raw or fried. In India jackfruit is called Katahal, Phanas, Panasa, Varukkai, Halasu, Chakka, and so on. Jackfruit belongs to the Moraceae family.
States that widely produce jackfruit are TN, Kerala, WB, Bihar, UP, Goa, Orissa, and Assam. In other parts of the country, it is rarely grown in plantations and is instead grown in homesteads, as a shade tree or as a mixed crop. It grows throughout South India up to an elevation of 2,400 meters. It is eaten as a fruit and in the raw form as a vegetable after frying. It has a tough exterior that is very hard to cut and sticky as it gives out some sort of milky substance. But the effort is worth it if you go by the health benefits and the taste.
Some varieties of jackfruit commonly cultivated are Singapore or Ceylon Jack, Rudrakshi, Konkan Prolific, Hybrid Jack, 5 PLR-1 (Palur-1), Burliar-1 (T Nagar Selection) and PPI-1 (Pechiparai-1). Jackfruits come as a soft flesh and firm flesh varieties. Jackfruits thrive well in humid tropical climates. Jackfruits are medium-sized evergreen trees that have one of the largest fruits. Pollination is by insects and wind, with a high percentage of cross-pollination. It bears a compound or multiple fruits with a green to yellow-brown exterior rind that is composed of hexagonal, bluntly conical carpel apices that cover a thick, rubbery, and whitish to a yellowish wall.
The early bearing jackfruits are found in March – April, the late bearing ones are found in August – September, the all-season ones are available throughout the year and the twice bearing or the Palur-1 is available in the normal and off-season. Its fruits are used both for culinary purposes and as table fruit. Tender fruits appear in the market in spring and continue till late summer as a popular vegetable. Ripe fruits are very sweet and have high a nutritive value.
The fruit contains minerals and vitamins A and C. The fruits are also used for the preparation of pickles, dehydrated leather, thin papads, soft drinks like nectar, squash and for canning purposes. The rind of the fruit is rich in protein. The skin of the fruit and leaves are excellent fodder for animals. Jackfruit tree is a valuable timber for making furniture as it is rarely attacked by white ants. The latex from the bark contains resin. Sometimes it is used to plug holes in earthen vats and baskets. Jackfruits are therefore useful in many ways to humans, animals and industrial purposes.
There are many ways to eat jackfruit and such way is by eating it as a fruit. It is very sweet and the smell may not be of liking by everyone. All the same, many people do enjoy eating the jackfruit as a fruit. If eaten raw, it usually chopped and cut into small triangular pieces and deep fried and kept aside. This can be then used to make curries or gravies with a lot of flavoring. Some people make pickles out of it too. Jackfruit is enjoyed across India in various forms.
According to Ayurveda, jackfruit is considered to be an instant energy provider. It is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and helps in easing digestion, is good for the heart, lungs, blood pressure and asthma. These are all the health benefits of jackfruit. Now let us see what dishes we can make from jackfruit. Some dishes made from the jackfruit that are popular in India are kathal masala, kathal ki biryani, jackfruit curry, mustard masala jackfruit, kathal kofta, eachor kosha, echor cutlet, kathal dry sabzi, jackfruit pickle, jackfruit dosa, jackfruit bonda, jackfruit kela Rasayana, jackfruit Keri shake, spicy jackfruit curry, mango drumstick and jackfruit seed kolamb.
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Process of growing Jackfruit
⦁ Time / Season / Climatic conditions –
Jackfruits grow best in arid and warm humid climates. It also grows well in humid, hilly slopes with elevation up to 1500 m. It is intolerant to frost and cold weather conditions.
The early bearing variety is grown from March – April
The late bearing variety is grown from August – September
The all-season ones are grown throughout the year
But the most successful ones are grown in spring in summer – March-May
⦁ Seed Rate/spacing –
Jackfruits are propagated through seeds or grafting. When using seeds, ensure you use the best quality seeds. The grafted jackfruits are available in the market for cultivating purposes or you may contact your local horticulturist. Propagation is usually by seeds which can be kept no longer than a month before planting. Germination requires 3 – 8 weeks. Grafting can be carried out throughout the year. However, veneer grafting is more successful during spring and summer (March-May).
If jackfruit is propagated by seeds, they are sown immediately after extraction either in beds, polythene bags, earthen pots or in coconut husk pieces containing enough soil to cover the seeds. Heavier seeds should be used for sowing purposes. The seeds should be soaked 24 hours in water and after that treated either with 25 – 50 ppm solution of NAA or 500 ppm gibberellic acid which results in improved germination and enhanced seedling growth.
Planting of grafts may be done during June – December at 8 m x 8 m spacing. Dig pits of 1 m x 1 m x 1 m dimension and fill with topsoil mixed with 10 Kg of FYM and 1 Kg of neem cake per pit. Apply Lindane 1.3% @ 100 g/pit and mix it thoroughly. The tree grows moderately rapidly in early years, up to 1.5 m/yr
(5 ft/yr) in height, slowing to about 0.5 m/yr (20 inches/yr) as tree reaches maturity.
⦁ Soil type / Land preparation / Irrigation –
Jackfruit requires well-drained sandy loam soil with a pH of 6.0 – 7.5. Well-drained soils are a must as jackfruit is intolerant to waterlogging and excess moisture. Lands near river beds are suitable for growing jackfruits.
The land is prepared to fine tilth stage and made weed free. Pit size of 1 cubic meter is dug at a spacing of 6 m and filled with topsoil and 10 – 12 FYM. The grafts are planted in the center of the pits during June – September. The grafts can be protected by using the shade of coconut trees. The trees are trained to a single stem and the side branches are removed. The flower buds that appear must be kept free of vegetative growth. Fertilizers are applied during monsoon. Irrigated farms require fertilizers in split doses twice a year from June – July and September – October. The fertilizers and manures are applied in a circular trench taken 50 cm away from the tree trunk. FYM is applied @ 10 kg each year and after the 50th year, it is applied @ 50 kg/plant. N, P, K are applied @ 0.15, 0.08, and 0.10 kg/plant up to 50 years and thereafter @ 0.75, 0.40, and 0.50 kg/plant.
Irrigation depends on the soil moisture, weather condition and soils holding capacity. Jackfruits grow well in the rain fed conditions and need irrigation regularly during the first three years. The trees are sensitive to drought and hence need irrigation in hot weather conditions. The trees can be watered using the ring system. Rainy seasons do not require irrigation. Floods will require water to be drained out immediately as jackfruits are intolerant to excess water.
⦁ Weed management / Pest control –
Weeding and mulching are required to promote plant growth and avoid pests. Protect the farm by fencing to keep animals away
Shoot and trunk borer can be controlled by application of Sevin 50 % @ 4 g/liter of water by spray is advisable. Affected parts should be nipped off and destroyed.
Brown weevil is controlled by destroying the fallen fruits and buds and by collecting grubs and adults. You can also spray the trees with monocrotophos @ 0.035%
Soft rot is a fungal disease and may be controlled by spraying Bordeaux mixture @ 0.4%
Pink disease can also be treated with Bordeaux mixture @ 2.75 kg copper sulfate + 1.8 kg slaked lime + 200 liters of water
Blossom rot and Fruit rot can be treated by spraying Bavistin @ 0.05% or Fytolan @ 0.2% or M.45 @ 0.2% at a fortnightly interval
Shoot and fruit borers can be controlled by spraying Carbaryl @ 4 gm/liter of water during the flowering stage
⦁ Harvesting –
Bearing in jackfruit starts from the 7th – the 8th year when fruits may develop, while the tree reaches its peak bearing stage within 15th – 16th years after planting. Grafted jackfruits start bearing from fruits from the 4th year. The fruit matures towards the end of summer in June. The period of fruit development is February – June. Harvesting is done by cutting the stalks carrying the fruits. Normally, a tree bears 250 fruits annually. The yield depends on the soil type, farming practices, climate and so on. On an average, jackfruit yields around 25 – 30 fruits per plant with a weight of about 10 – 30 kg each.
⦁ Benefits of Jackfruit –
⦁ Jackfruit helps boost the immune system, healthy thyroid and aid in digestion
⦁ They protect against cancer and are known to be good for the eyes (as they contain Vitamin A) and are good for the skin as well
⦁ They control blood pressure and asthma-related ailments
⦁ Jackfruits contain vitamin C and hence colds and infections at bay
⦁ Jackfruits have anti-ulcerative properties and their fiber content helps smooth bowel movements
⦁ Jackfruits help fight wrinkles and promote a healthy skin
⦁ Jackfruits are rich in protein and promote hair growth
⦁ Jackfruits help strengthen bones, boost energy and prevent anemia
Jackfruit Nutritional value –
No. Constituents Per 100 g of edible portion
Tender Ripe Seed
1. Carbohydrate (g) 9.4 18.9 25.8
2 Protein (g) 2.6 1.9 6.6
3 Fat (g) 0.3 0.1 0.4
4 Fiber (g) – 1.1 –
5 Total mineral matter (g) 0.9 0.8 1.2
6 Calcium (mg) 50.0 20.0 21.0
7 Phosphorus (mg) 97.0 30.0 28.0
8 Iron (mg) 1.5 500.0 –
9 Potassium (mg) 246.0 – –
10 Vitamin A (IU) 0.0 540.0 17.0
11 Thiamine (mg) 0.25 30.0 –
12 Riboflavin (mg) 0.11 – –
13 Vitamin C (mg) 11.0 – –
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