The humble jack, which happens to be the largest tree-borne fruit in the world (each jackfruit can weigh up to 50 kilograms) is found a plenty in Coorg. Jackfruit trees provide shade to the cardamom and coffee plantations in Coorg.
It is believed that the word ‘jack’ was derived from the Portuguese word jaca, which in turn, was said to have been derived from the Malayalam word chakka. In Coorg, the jackfruit is known as chekke.
Jackfruit is mostly consumed ripened. But people in Coorg prepare delicious curry from raw jackfruit. Chekke kuru pajji; a chutney which is made from the seeds of jackfruit happens to be a specialty of Coorg.
Apart from being a tasty dish, jackfruit has many medicinal benefits. It is a rich source of Vitamins A and C. Jackfruits, being a rich source of iron, help in preventing anemia and improve the circulation of blood in the body. Jackfruit also contains phytonutrients that have powerful anti-cancer properties.
Incidentally, elephants too love the jackfruit. The smell of ripe jackfruit coming from various coffee plantations in Coorg draws the attention of elephants in search of food. The latter trample through the coffee plantations to get there. They shake the jackfruit trees vigorously until the jackfruits fall to the ground. In the process, they cause a lot of damage to the coffee bushes. In order to protect their coffee bushes, many coffee growers in Coorg have, in recent years, cut the jackfruit trees growing within their coffee plantations.