September 30, 2008

Volunteering - September 26

malay appleAn archway of Malay apple.

Last Friday I spent a lot of time pruning like last week -- once again, the noni -- as well as touching up some new growth on the carambola. I also trimmed the lovely archway by the gazebo, which consists of Malay apple.

New pineapple plants, ready for planting.

Afterwards, I cleared up the pineapple patch behind the gazebo. Jon-Mario said we'd be planting new, healthier pineapples soon.

man workingWe finally found a solvent for tape, but still needed a lot of elbow grease!

Another thing we worked on was cleaning the plastic sheets that cover the informative posters in front of the pavilion. The ends had been glued with tape so we tried to figure out what we could use to dissolve it. This was time consuming and Jon-Mario said he would be continuing with the other three posters the following week.

jackfruitA truly tropical feast: coconut, dwarf bananas and jackfruit (Artocarpus heteropyllus).

After our work, Jon-Mario treated a new volunteer and I to some jackfruit from a tree in the garden. If you recall, I posted a photo of the tree back in August, when it was bearing six huge fruits.

It was my first time trying jackfruit and it was really delicious! The fruit is a bulb that lies tucked inside some fibrous strands so it needs to be pulled out. The edible part is soft and not at all fibrous. There's supposed to be a sticky latex around the fruit, but I didn't feel it. The taste is something like mango, but more subtle, with hints of passion fruit and pineapple. (Some people think it tastes like Juicyfruit gum.)

jackfruitDelectable jackfruit ready to eat. The seed is on the inside.

I really enjoyed it and would eat it more often, but it's rare to find it commercially available in South Florida and even when it's sold it runs about $2.50 - $3 a pound, according to Jon-Mario.

The jackfruit tree in the garden is not a really big tree, in spite of the size of the fruit -- though I'm sure the tree is trimmed. If I had a yard, I'd definitely plant jackfruit tree.
This most unusual of fruit is a member of the mulberry family, although its outward appearance would not suggest the relationship. The fruit can weigh upwards of 30 or 40 pounds, with an unusual, spiky green skin. Inside there are a hundred or more large, starchy seeds surrounded by a sweet and aromatic flesh, all attached to a central core.
To learn more about jackfruit, visit Fairchild virtual herbarium.

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