Mangaluru: Jackfruits are a common sight in Mangaluru and almost every part of it, including the seeds, is used either for consumption or for some or the other purpose. If you search the term "jackfruit uses" on Google, you will find numerous articles about its health benefits and recipes. According to WebMD, "Jackfruit is taken by mouth as an aphrodisiac or for diabetes. Jackfruit paste is applied to the skin for poisonous bites. Also, the wood of the jackfruit tree is used to make furniture or musical instruments." But did you ever, in your wildest dreams imagine that jackfruit could be used as a soap?!
Some of you might have read the previous sentence and gone "Jackfruit soaps? Really? Why?" Well, lucky for us, one Mangalurean woman went "Why not ya?"
There was once a time when our ancestors, even some of our parents used natural items as cosmetics or even for more mundane tasks like brushing their teeth. I remember when Colgate-Palmolive launched its 'Active Salt' toothpaste with the tagline "Kya aapke toothpaste mein namak hai?", my mom was like, "Yea, we used to put salt on our toothpaste when we were kids. We even brushed our teeth with charcoal!" Imagine my surprise when a few years later, Colgate-Palmolive launched its own charcoal toothpaste. Like, were you listening to my mom?
With many of the people now moving towards veganism and more organic and healthier options, it's no surprise that we are now choosing to use actual fruits and vegetables to deal with our various issues rather than rely on the chemical-infused products stocked in supermarket shelves. (Sidenote: Ever tried onion juice on your hair? It's A M A Z I N G!)
Tapping on this vein of society, Aparna Harish, a cheerful 31-year-old Vittal native who currently works as an All India Radio Kannada casual announcer in Chennai, decided to experiment with jackfruit soaps, and why not? A soap and cosmetic maker by passion, Arpana sells her products under the brand name 'Zue' and has made soaps out of ingredients such as ubtan powder, red sandal, lavender extract, hibiscus, kewda, jasmine and even mangoes. She has also done the unthinkable by making soaps out of charcoal, red wine and beer! Wow!
As a member of ‘Aranmula Jackfruit’, a global WhatsApp group of jackfruit lovers who discuss various ways to add value to the fruit, Aparna was encouraged to do something different. She even interacted with the experts to find out about the benefits of the fruit.
Speaking to newskarnataka.com, Aparna said, "Through my research, I found that jackfruits are rich in vitamins and are good for the skin. They act as anti-ageing agents, moisturise the skin and reduce itching. Shree Padre (senior journalist), the creator of the WhatsApp group told me to contact Theertakumar for jackfruits. I did as he told me and Theertakumar sent a full jackfruit free of cost all the way to Chennai." Theertakumar is a supplier of pre-packed jackfruit bulbs in Bengaluru. Aparna also informed that now she sources her ingredients from Vittal, her hometown.
After studying the various benefits of the fruit, Aparna made her first batch of jackfruit soaps around a year ago. She used a combination of fruit pulp and calamine powder to make first batch of the creamy soaps and gave them to her family members to try them out. "I added calamine powder in the first batch because I love calamine and wanted to see how it would work. My family loved the soaps," Aparna said.
She then decided to try and improve her product (like any good entrepreneur would) and this time, tried adding jackfruit skin powder instead of calamine powder. "I made the jackfruit skin powder by myself. It was a long process and a lot of skin was wasted, plus the soap's texture was a little rough. These too, I gave to friends and family to try out and they liked them," she explained.
Aparna is now curing her third batch of jackfruit soaps and these are different from the previous two batches. "This time, I used only the flesh or pulp of the jackfruit to make the soap. It was much easier and the outcome is also much better," she said and added that the batch was still curing and would be ready this month.
Asked if she had finalised her formula for the soap, Aparna said that so far, purely the use of jackfruit pulp, apart from the usual soap base, had proven to be better. "I think I will use only the jackfruit's pulp for making the soaps," she said.
When asked if she had any plans for the jackfruit skin and seeds, Aparna said that she would have to do more research to find out about the benefits of the two and come up with ways to use them.
Now that Aparna's soaps have become an instant hit, she plans to try her hand at making jackfruit shampoos and talcum powders. She, however, needs to test and see if jackfruit suits the hair.
While she mainly sells her products through her own network of friends and family, she does have a Facebook page where one can contact. However, Aparna admits that she is not very active on social media. "I usually only upload photos on my Facebook page when I feel like it," she said with a giggle.
For those of you who want to try your hand at making jackfruit soaps, there's good news as Aparna is open to guiding anyone who wants to try it out. "I teach people who want to learn how to make soaps and cosmetics and things like that. I plan on taking the classes online but I haven't yet decided about that," she informed
Jackfruits and their by-products
An article titled 'Jackfruit Based Value Added Products' published on LinkedIn by N G Lakshminarayan (Chief-Business Development at National Research Development Corporation, New Delhi) on January 27, 2017 delves into the uses and benefits of jackfruits and even lists several by-products as found by the R&D work of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru.
UAS' research resulted in the development of the following value-added products from different parts of the jackfruit: Tender Jackfruit for use as Vegetable, Ready to Serve Jackfruit Juice, Jackfruit Squash, Jackfruit Bulb flour and its products, Jackfruit Seed flour and its products, Jackfruit Peda, Jackfruit Ice-cream, Jackfruit Shrikand, Jackfruit Chips and Jackfruit Jam.
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