My life as a vegetarian/vegan over the past 20 years has caused me to have many adventures in meat substitutes…cue ominous music. On my last visit to the Taino Farm, I remember looking up at the jackfruit trees. Although, I had only encountered the canned variety, how hard can cutting up a fruit be? Thus began my eXtreme Jackfruit adventure.
A few days later, I received a text and a picture, a few unripe jackfruit had arrived in the hotel lobby and the little one was mine. Yipeee!!
I had to find out how to get this thing opened in order to proceed with the recipes I know how to cook. I solidified my commitment by talking to all the eXtreme Circus folk and promised them a fun meal. Circus folk have good appetites and they fling themselves across the sky, fruit cooked like meat can’t be that scary right? A few blogs and horticultural sites later and I was cautiously optimistic.
Fruit that seeps latex seems kinda weird, but I am game. All the websites said not to wear clothes you like, hmm, oil my hands…okay…my knife? Um, sure, I can be careful covered in oil, and with a knife as long as my forearm, and a giant fruit covered in thick spiked skin (they get up to 80 pounds, I think the one I was carving was about 25). I went slowly and decided to not tell my family about the potential danger, till after it was over.
The first cut was tough, the rind was thick, quickly became sticky, and I had to hug the jackfruit to my chest to get a good angle for each cut. I quietly thanked Vikki from the eXtreme Hotel for not giving me the bigger fruit.
My friends walked past the kitchen window and looked in, “how’s it going?” I made non-committal whimpering noises and in my head I wondered what I was thinking.
“You are going to love this when I cook it,” Was this a promise, or a threat? Why not both?
They seemed to know that this was a one woman job, perhaps the oily knife scared them away? Sweat dripped down my face, but I couldn’t wipe it off, cause I had oil, latex and jackfruit all over me. Time extended. I became jackfruit. I wondered if I would be able to leave this place when I found myself standing, my feet stuck to the floor with natural latex, my mind filled with concern that it will be too big for the pot. Did I get enough seasoning? Am I doing this right? Someone will want a picture, AHHHHHH.