What’s in Season July 2019 Jackfruit and Cinnamon Apple
Each month, in What’s in Season I try to feature a well-known, readily available specimen, as well as introduce you to something a little more unusual. This month is no exception. I have written in this space before about the massive and versatile Jackfruit, Artocarpus heterophylla, and I am equally as excited to share my more unusual, but delicious pick the Cinnamon Apple, Pouteria hypoglauca.
Cinnamon Apple is a lesser known cousin of favorites like Mamey Sapote and Canistel. These round, softball-sized fruits have a slightly grainy texture and a mildly, milky sweet taste. The common name was probably inspired after noticing the brown flecks peppered over the fruit after it has been cut – almost like it has been sprinkled with cinnamon. There’s no taste of cinnamon, but it does mimic the common apple that begins to oxidize after cutting. It is commonly eaten right out of your hand or it’s mixed into milkshakes or other drinks. The Cinnamon Apple got my attention following Hurricane Irma. As our staff was assessing downed trees, shredded leaves, and broken branches, this tough little tree stood out because it appeared to have escaped any damage! This tree would make a fine addition to just about any landscape, with the added benefit of delicious fruit produced over a relatively long season.
Jackfruit, Artocarpus heterophylla can easily be called the most versatile fruit known to man. Aside from being the largest tree borne fruit (sometimes weighing up to 100 pounds in its native range) it is useful and valuable at every stage, from flower to mature fruit. In fact, more uses are being found all the time. The large, stately tree can produce 2-300 pounds of fruit per year, with season varying by variety, but like most tropical fruits, peaking in the summer months.
Jackfruit is enjoyed in many forms. A single Jackfruit can yield hundreds of the small, yellow, fruit lobes (or bulbs) — each of which contain a highly nutritious seed. The fruit itself is a good source of Vitamin C, while the seeds are rich in protein, potassium, calcium, and iron. It can be harvested immature and cooked like a vegetable in a variety of ways. In parts of Southeast Asia, jackfruit is served in dozens of ways from Jackfruit curry, to stir fry, to juice, chips, ice cream, and even baking flour, which is made from drying and grinding the seeds or fruit — it offers remarkable versatility in the kitchen.
In our region, Jackfruit grows easily with little care once its mature. Be sure to leave enough room for this tree though, as it is only suitable for areas with enough space to accommodate a large tree. At the Fruit & Spice Park, we have an extensive collection of Jackfruit. This is core to our mission of introducing and evaluating ethnobotanically important trees and plants to the South Florida landscape for the betterment of homeowners and commercial growers alike. Visitors to the park can see Jackfruit trees, and thousands of others, in their mature producing stages, sample fruit in season, all in the peaceful, idyllic setting of the Redland agricultural area of South Miami-Dade County.
Jamaican Jerk Jackfruit
1 20 oz can young green jackfruit
2 tsp oil, divided
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
½ tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
½ to ¾ tsp cayenne
¼ to ½ tsp black pepper
A good dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice
1 tsp or more lime juice
2 cups water
¼ to ½ tsp sugar or other sweetener
Caribbean Black Beans
1 tsp oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 15 oz can black beans or 1.5 cups cooked
¼ tsp all spice
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt (or to taste, depends on the beans)
1.5 tbsp orange juice or 2 tsp lemon juice + ¼ tsp sugar
¼ cup water
Other additions: chopped mango, sliced cucumbers or pickles, cilantro or baby greens
salt, pepper, lemon or lime juice.
Drain the jackfruit and wash well. Squeeze out the liquid really well by pressing the jackfruit pieces in a paper napkin. Shred in a food processor or thinly slice using a knife.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shredded jackfruit and all dry spices (or 1.5 tbsp or more premade Jamaican Jerk seasoning). Cook for 2-3 mins or until the spices start to smell roasted.
Add lime juice and water and sugar and cook partially covered for 25 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Once the mixture is dry, taste and adjust salt and heat. Add in the 1 tsp oil and continue to roast the jackfruit until golden brown on some edges. Serve this in wraps, sandwiches, tacos, nachos.
Make the Caribbean Black Beans:
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent. 4-5 mins.
Add black beans, spices, water and orange or lime juice and simmer for 10 mins. Stir occasionally.
Make the wraps:
Layer the black beans, then cilantro or chopped baby green, then a good helping of the jerk jackfruit, then cucumber and mango, lemon, salt and pepper. Fold into a burrito and serve.