Thursday, 4 August 2016

Jackfruit: Aftermath of a Broken Limb

At the end of June, in a post entitled ‘The Straw Which Broke the Jackfruit’s Back’, I recounted the adventures we had experienced in dealing with the collapse of a major fruiting limb on one of our jackfruit trees. Sadly, this was our first crop of Sydney jackfruits, closing upon ripeness, a cause for great excitement.

Cradle of tree support
So, what could we salvage from the incident?

Our first action was to ‘Hire-a-Hubby’. His brief was to construct an adjustable, reusable tree branch support to secure the other main fruiting limb of the tree. This was completed within a fortnight, the heavy load of five or six jackfruits now much safer than in their precarious, pendulous state.

Line supports
Secondly, while holidaying in Malaysia, we purchased some metallic clothes line tops from a $2 shop. These items are intended to be placed on bamboo poles, a line strung between, for the drying of clothes. However, we could see value in these as branch supports for young trees with smaller fruit such as mangoes and longans. Six of these were purchased for later use.

Our third action was to leave the broken limb ‘in situ’ on the ground to see whether the fruit would mature and ripen. They did not. Unfortunately, there was little remaining attachment between the fallen limb and the trunk. The leaves withered. The smaller fruit began to rot and were discarded. One large fruit was retained. The dead limb was cut up and binned.

Green jackfruit arils... with seed
The retained fruit was opened and the arils (fruity bits) removed: I attempted to make a curry from the green jackfruit arils, using a recipe from the internet (Sayur Nangka Masak Lemak). The curry, with pieces of chicken added, was rather sweet, due to the influence of the green jackfruit. In fact, because of this sweetness, the better-half suggested that preparing jackfruit jam may have been a good use for the fruit.

A serving of Sayur Nangka Masak Lemak

The seeds have also been kept and frozen: my partner loves to eat boiled jackfruit seeds, which are reminiscent of the taste of chestnuts.

A lot of learning has taken place since the wind-induced damage to the jackfruit tree. One important piece of advice came from our family in Malaysia: on young jackfruit trees, fruit developing on the branches, rather than the trunk, should be removed. According to this theory, the tree is thereby encouraged to produce its fruit along its sturdier parts.

So, today, the tree still has a number of largish fruits in the process of ripening, and, an educated guess would place the ripening near the end of this month or during September. At this time, all the remaining fruit are in good condition with no signs of rot… Touch wood!

As a sidelight, I have noticed that our second jackfruit tree, grown from different seedstock, is producing cucumber-sized fruit at the moment, in the depths of our winter. It will be interesting to see how these fare in the coming months.

Wishing you hours of enjoyment and contentment in your garden…

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