Vanessa Makka pakka um Levana duped, which means mid-drive jackfruit is the most nutrient-rich. That is when you should consume jackfruit the most.
There are five reasons why green jackfruit is better than rice or roti for a person with diabetes: it’s 40% low in carbohydrates, 40% low in calories, 40% low in glycemic load, four times more fibre, and you are replacing your starch with a vegetable.
All five are what we advise patients with diabetes to replace or change in their dietary habits. Jackfruit was around for 5000 years in India. How come nobody understood this is a superfood? It’s because we have not applied our research mind to jackfruit at all.
It all started at a dinner at Taj Morales in Mumbai at the chef’s studio of Chef Haman Dubrow. It was working for the vegetarians. It was work Akuma mushroom instead of crab meat, and I asked him why didn’t consider green jackfruit instead of mushroom, which is considered vegan meat.
But then he said jackfruit is sticky, smelly, and seasonal. No chef would work on the sticky jackfruit. And that is when it occurred to me that we must do something about 80% of jackfruit in India going to waste.
Jackfruit is one word in English, whereas, in South Indian languages, it has different names at different stages. Only ripe jackfruit is sweet. The grain jackfruit has 1/5 sugar, so it is not at all high in sugar, and it is low in carbohydrates.
Jackfruit is bad for diabetes only when it is ripe. So you are replacing a grain or rice or weight with a grain fruit, a vegetable.
When I took a year off to write a book about my journey, you know traveling around the world, coming back to India and going back to my village in Kerala and working for Microsoft.
When I start writing the book in October, this jackfruit tree, in fact, I was sitting in the Attic of this house had a small jackfruit in it, and as soon as I finished the first chapter by December, it became a 15 kg monster, and I’m seeing it every day, it’s growing bigger and bigger and bigger, and when it became the big monster, I said if I don’t do anything about it, it’s going to fall off.
So that is when I learned it’s possible to freeze-dry the jack for slices. So we took the whole jackfruit, remove the ports out of it, and freeze-dried, so we removed the water below zero degrees, and that became easy to rehydrate.
When I took it to all the chefs I knew during my time at Microsoft, they loved the idea of making dishes with freeze-dried jackfruit. A seasonal, sticky, smelly seasonal jackfruit in the war chefs love, and with a full year, 365 days shelf life, that’s how the idea of jackfruit 365 started. The next turning point for the jackfruit resist fair was a meeting with ex-president Dr Kalam.
He read my book and called me for a meeting in Delhi. He went through my research, and he was silent for three minutes, and then he made a statement. He said, “This is not medicine, this is pure science, this is absolute science.” But there is a problem.
Changing eating habits is worse than changing religion. People like to eat what they grew up with. If there is a way to add this to what people normally eat, we may have a reverse gear for India’s diabetes epidemic.
Explicitly, he asked me to focus on that. “As an engineer,” he said, “you should look at how it can be added to what people normally eat. Thank you, call me, and I will help you to promote this all over India.”
It took 18 months of engineering research for us to crack a flour, not a powder, a flour from the green jackfruit like rice flour or wheat flour, with a binding factor, which means it should be able to blend with dosa, idli, and with roti.
It took two patents for us to reach that flush, but unfortunately, by the time we made the jackfruit flour, Dr. Kalam passed away.
India has the second-largest diabetes population in the world. If we use green jackfruit as a nutritional supplement to correct our plate, then we can significantly reduce India’s diabetes burden.