How to eat Jaca

Jaca is a curious fruit. It looks nasty from the outside, and nasty from the inside, but it really tastes great. There are two varieties, jaca dura and jaca mole. I prefer jaca dura because it´s less slippery and not so sweet. Brazilians, especially in Bahia where it´s eaten most, love to laugh at foreigners trying to eat a jaca.

Jaca is rich in carbohydrates, minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iodine, copper and iron. It also contains vitamins A, C and of the B complex. It is basically a complete meal and incredibly nutritious. I honestly believe jaca effectively combats malnutrition among poor children and adults, although no one seems to consider its importance.

Instructions:

1. First, you have to cut it open, which is only possible with a facao (large knife) that is used to hack open jacas, coconuts, among other things. Only natives should attempt this as you run the risk of losing a foot.

2. Once it is open, you will notice it has a glue-like substance. This is the tricky part. Get a piece of paper and wipe the gluey substance off, without actually touching the inside.

3. Hack off slices as you would a water melon and hold one slice firmly. Use a fork to pick out the gomos (segments) from between the little tentacle-like hairs in between (these “hairs” are a remedy against stomach problems). If you get the gluey stuff on your hands, remove with oil (cooking oil) only. Do not try paper or water as it won´t work. Also use oil to wipe the knife or fork clean.

4. The actual segments are like seeds wrapped in the pulp (meat) of the fruit. Pop them in your mouth and suck off the pulp (if the seed is small) or tear off the pulp with your teeth. Mmmmm.

Enjoy! Jaca is actually addictive.

For pictures, visit Brasil Escola

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