Ever since I was a little girl in Bangladesh, I remember the sweet smell of jackfruit and how my father used to get super happy when our front yard tree had ripe ones. It's hard to describe the taste of a jackfruit since it has such a unique taste - a combination of mango, pineapple, and something else. Sometimes people confuse it with durian (which I am probably guessing many of you may not know about). But while it is unbeknownst to the western world, jackfruit has been a long standing part of the South Asian diet. Infact, Bangladesh is one of the largest producers of jackfruit (second largest producer to be exact) and it is the national fruit of the country. When it is unripe, jackfruit can be used as a vegetable and many people in Bangladesh use the vegetable to make various curries, chutneys, pickles, dried snacks etc.
Here's a jackfruit tree. Just look at the abundance! This is just one tree!
The sad reality is that much of the jackfruit supply in Bangladesh goes to waste since there is little to no proper facilities to preserve this abundant fruit. This has led to massive food wastage which impacts the environment negatively.
Here in Canada we are no stranger to overproducing and wasting food. We produce more than we need and more than we can eat. Did you know Canada is one of the largest producers and consumers of beef? The industrialization of cattle-farming has led to immense greenhouse gas emissions that has led to serious negative effect on our climate. In the upcoming weeks, I'll write more blogs on greenhouse gas emissions from cattle-farming and how it can be worse than car and plane emissions combined! Yes, you read that correctly.
Beyond that, for the average Canadian consumer, vegan/vegetarian gluten-free food can be quite limited and sometimes prohibitively expensive. One of the wonderful things about jackfruit is that when it is unripe it can be used as a vegan gluten, soy-free meat alternative. My goal is to bring this wonderful miracle of a crop as a finished product and share it with the Canadian consumers who did not have this option before. I hope that through introducing this meat-alternative, more Canadians will be educated on this miracle crop, there will be a reduction of food wastage, more access to healthy food and also helping the average Canadian be more of a socially-conscious consumer.
Below is a picture of me. Notice how I'm smiling in this picture because at this point I didn't know how much work it will take to cut this one jackfruit - one of the many reasons why people just don't seem to bother with this miracle crop, aside from the prohibitive price of this fruit in Canada. Stay tuned to my next few blogs in the coming weeks where I'll share my failed attempt at cutting a jackfruit and also what the worth of a jackfruit is in Bangladesh vs here in Canada.