I do not know how things are in Kerala, but the unripe jackfruit is certainly not left to rot on the tree in either West Bengal in India or in Bangladesh (A fruit worthy of: Monsters, Inc, Zoe Williams, G2, 28 March). It is actually one of the more expensive vegetables, and since the ripe fruit is also much in demand, cutting the green fruit down is a loss to the grower if it is not sold at a good price.
Like most other vegetables, Bengali home cooking has several recipes for the young jackfruit, and it is often called “the goat from the tree”. This is because the goat is the most-eaten animal in most of India. While no eater is fooled, the taste and the flavour of the green jackfruit in the hands of a good cook come quite close to those of goat meat. The vegans in Britain are in good company, then.
• Zoe Williams misses out an important point: the jackfruit seed is one of the best natural aphrodisiacs in the world. In India, boiled jackfruit seed crushed with raw garlic and sprinkled with nutmeg has long been at the forefront of the fight against sluggishness. It might even be responsible for India’s 1 billion-plus population.
• Felicity Cloake’s recipe for Gypsy tart (Feast, 30 March) brought back delightful memories of this favourite pudding served at school dinners when I was a pupil in Maidstone, although in the 1960s it would not be served with “a sharp green apple”.
Thinking about this now, should we really be calling it “Gypsy” tart, and why this name? Maybe the casual labourers who picked the hops every autumn introduced the tart to Kent. What a delicious legacy.
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