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The humble jackfruit has been grown in the Indian subcontinent for little more than 5,000 years, and has remained a part of our food habits ever since. Packed with nutrients, it is consumed both ripe and raw, and is also used to manufacture chips, papads, and candy.
And now, you can also consume this fruit in the form of a juice, chocolate and cookies!
The Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR), in Bengaluru, has developed an enzyme-clarified ready-to-drink beverage using jackfruit. They have also developed a method to extract flour from the seeds and pulp, which can be incorporated into cookies and chocolates.
“After three years of research, we have developed a process to make a ready-to-drink beverage using jackfruit pulp. The process involves using various enzymes to liquefy the thick pulp,” says CK Narayana, a Principal Scientist and Former Head of the Division of Post Harvest Technology, IIHR.
According to a report by the National Horticulture Board of Statistics, India produces 1.74 million tonnes of jackfruit annually.
“Like mangoes and grapes, jackfruits are also very popular in the market. But I felt that they could be used to make many more value-added products, so that is why I decided to incorporate them into commercial food items,” says Narayana.
The team, led by CK Narayana had three scientists and one technical analyst. Together, they have launched three products—ARKA Halasuras, a no-sugar, no-preservative beverage; ARKA Jackies, highly-nutritious cookies made with a mix of wheat flour and jackfruit seed flour; and ARKA Jacholate, a crunchy-mix of jackfruit seed flour and fruit flour, coated with regular chocolate. All these items will be available in markets after the lockdown, once production begins.
“ARKA Halasuras has a shelf life of six months and because it has no sugar or preservatives, it is a wonderful replacement for unhealthy juices and soft drinks. Meanwhile, the cookies (ARKA Jackies) have been made by replacing 40% of refined flour with seed-flour. Anything made of refined flour is filled with gluten and does not serve any nutritional purpose, whereas jackfruit flour contains starch, fibre, and has anti-cancerous properties. However, we could not eliminate refined flour completely because certain quantities of gluten are required for making biscuits. Finally, ARKA Jackocolate is quite similar to regular chocolate but healthier in comparison. It has 5-6% protein, lesser fat and calorie value. It is also rich in fibre and antioxidants,” says Narayana.
After laboratory trials were completed, Nithya Foods, a food processing company in Dakshina Kannada, collaborated with IIHR and is currently developing chapatis made from jackfruit seed flour.
The technology to prepare juice and flour will also be given to other food companies who wish to develop food products from jackfruit.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)