Sunday, 22 April 2018

'A Malaysian Garden in Sydney'

Jackfruit… First and Last

The successful fruiting of jackfruit trees entails a little luck in the marginal climate of suburban Sydney. Luck comes with the early spring flowering of the tree: later summer flowers will likely lead to the rotting of the fruiting body during the cold of winter.

Last May, our first and more precocious jackfruit tree gave up its first ripe fruit. Working in the garden, my curiosity had been piqued by a sweet smell emanating from the vicinity of the tree. There, lying on the ground, was a fallen jackfruit, fully tree-ripened, but showing signs of rot and animal damage. Once opened, the fruit was intensely sweet and delicious. “So, it can be done…”

This season, our second more compact jackfruit tree produced just one fruit. We watched the little fruit develop throughout the summer months and into autumn. It was a race against time.

It was a race against time, not because of the cooling days, but rather, because we were intending to move. The old Colinas garden would be moving from Sydney’s western suburbs to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.

So, the first week of April had come around, and the home had been moved. One last visit from the North to the old home and garden would necessitate the harvesting of the burgeoning jackfruit… and our first crop of red pomelos… before the new owners would take possession.

The jackfruit, which appeared to be on the brink of ripening, took its 400-kilometre journey to the new home where it was placed into a large brown paper bag with some bananas. The theory was that the ethylene produced by the ripening bananas would assist the green jackfruit to reach maturity.

And ripen, it did! Within four days.

Today, we cut open the jackfruit, a yellow crisp variety, sweet with a slightly-lemony flavour. This was a very different flavour from the super-sweet fruit produced by our first tree. More importantly, the fruit provided a surfeit of seeds for a new tree, or two, on our small acreage in new northern climes. So, in a way, the tree travels with us to a new home.

It may have been the first and last fruit of this tree. But really, it won’t be the last…

Wishing you hours of enjoyment and contentment in your garden…