Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Royal Fruit

Jack Fruit
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
The jack fruit is one of the largest fruits in the world, and it grows throughout Vietnam and other tropical countries. We were familar with jack fruit because Vietnamese immigrants in the US frequently eat dried jack fruit chips as snacks. We had picked up some jack fruit chips in the Hanoi airport lounge, but hadn't seen real jack fruit until we got to Hue.

The jack fruit is typically about a foot tall and about a half foot in diameter, but can be much bigger. The trees are taller than citrus trees and have large broad leaves, but the fruit hang off branches very close to the trunk. The fruit also tend to grow in clusters like grapefruit.

A cluster of jack fruit
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
The meat is in little pulpy pods and ripe fruit have a single seed in each pod. The pulp is softer than ripe banana and sweeter.

In Hue, unlike the rest of the country, the jack fruit was reserved for royalty and could only be grown on the grounds of the Imperial Palace. This restriction is still honored today in modern Hue.

For more than you could ever care to know about jackfruit see this article from Purdue University.

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