The tree-giants of Pazhakulam

The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus or A. heterophylla) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family (Moraceae). Wow ! I didn’t know that they belonged to the Mulberry family!

These are the delectable fruits of Pazhakulam, whose memories never fade while in the Gulf when you see a small tray with 10 fruit flesh pieces priced at Dirhams 7-10( nearly Rs.100) and you miss those huge giant laden trees of Kerala.

The tree in front of the house welcoming you with jackfruits.

They are best eaten raw sitting on a straw mat with the whole family around , with some oil rubbed into your palms and fingers to prevent the sap from sticking too much—with bare hands.

The tree is very tall and help is needed to pluck or push down the giants.

A sweet preparation called Chakka Varattiyathu is made by seasoning the Varikka fruit flesh pieces in jaggery, which can be preserved and used for many months.

Amma’s preparation and packaging of Chakka Varattiyathu is meticulous and those packets of jackfruit heaven are the ones that make the Gulf aridness almost bearable till the next visit home.

The seeds may be boiled or baked like beans. The leaves are used as a wrapping for steamed idlis.

King of Fruits --for Malayalees.

In Kerala, mainly two varieties of Jackfruit are found: Varikka and Kuzha. Varikka has slightly hard flesh for the inner fruit when it becomes ripened. Kuzha fruit has very soft, almost dissolving type flesh for the inner fruit on ripening.

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