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Is Chempedak (Artocarpus integer) even better than jackfruit?

Latin name and family:

Chempedak, cempedak is Artocarpus Integer and has many synonyms: (syn.: Artocarpus champeden, Artocarpus integrifolius). It is in the Moraceae family, which also belong to our friends Breadfruit, Breadnut, add more here.

It seems like in English we have a hard time deciding what to call it and how to spell it. Here’s a few similar spellings: Chempedak, Cempedak, Campedak, Champedak, Artocarpus champeden, Chempedak Utan, tjampedak.

  • Indonesia: chempedak, campedak (Malay), baroh (Lingga).
  • Malaysia: chempedak (cultivated), bankong (wild), baroh (Johor).
  • Burma: sonekadat
    Thailand: champada.

Characteristics of the fruit:

Chempedak looks like jackfruit but it has less spiky smoother skin and it is more cylindrical. The fruits may vary in skin color from green when they are young to yellow or orange as they mature. There are little hexagonal patterns in the small protrusions. The flesh casing (aril) is similar to jackfruit. There is a reddish or yellowish fleshy pod that surrounds each large seed. There may be anywhere from 15-400 seeds depending on the specific cultivar (PROSEA, 2016) .

Unlike, jackfruit the flesh is softer. However, the Cheena (Jackfruit x Champadek) is crunchier. The Cheena is the most widely known cross between a jackfruit and a champedak and has smaller fruits than their parents with a pleasant flavor. The fruit can measure up to 1 and ½ feet (45 cm) long and can weigh as much as 13.3 pounds (6 kg). Its fruity flesh is covered in a green, yellow or orange brown skin that smoother than a jackfruit.

How to use chempedak fruit

The flavor is complex. My husband describes it as having a taste similar to mango or durian. Other accounts compare it to banana, pineapple,  honey and nectar. Compared to jackfruit, the chempedak is sweeter. When they are ripe they are more aromatic than jackfruit, and almost as aromatic as durian.

Chempedak used as a vegetable

Like the jackfruit, chempedak can be harvested green or immature and used as a cooked vegetable. It should be treated similarly to jackfruit. It is a little bit of work to cut open the fruit and separate the flesh but it is well worth it for culinary diversity. Here is an article I wrote on how to use green jackfruit from the tree to the veggie dish. 

Alternatively, the fuzzy or hairy leaves are also used in cooking.  Traditionally, the fuzzy leaves were used as a meat tenderizer (Z. Siti Balqis & A Rosma, 2011). And other accounts report the use of their immature leaves as a green in cooking.

Chempedek seeds

The artocarpus integer seeds make up almost 20% of the fresh fruit weight, so luckily they are edible!  Another plus is that Chempedak seeds are easier to process than jackfruit because their seed coat is thinner and digestible. The seeds are starchy and taste somewhat nutty. They can can be cooked, dried and turned into flour which can be a nutritious additive or partial flour replacement (Aziah et. al 2011). Or you can boiled them  (think fingerling potatoes) smoother them in a tasty sauce. In the past I have make veggie burgers out of jackfruit seeds.

Chempedak has many culinary applications. It is eaten fresh when it is ripe, fried with flour to make fritters. It can also be made into a pudding.

Harvesting & Storage

The fruit can mature in 3 months or more. You’ll want to harvest ripe fruit when you see changes in the skin color and when the stem starts to yellow. The stem should also break easily. After harvest they may be further ripened. If you store in a cool place you will extend the shelf life.

Artocarpus integer

If you are harvesting the chempedak ripe, then there should be no latex in the skin. However, if you are harvesting it green for use as a vegetable in cooking, you should try mess-preventative methods like jackfruit.

In most cases the harvesting season lasts about 6 weeks and closer to the Equator you may see two seasons.

Other uses:

Artocarpus integer is cultivated for fruit especially in Jamaica and Kenya. But it has several other uses, most notably as lumber. It’s wood is strong as teak, and suitable for some construction projects. Ropes can be made from the bark. And the yellow extract of the heartwood can be used in coloring dyes, most notably for clothes. It is also good for firewood because it has moisture-free hardwood.

Growing information

It is native to Southeast Asia and thrives in the lowland, humid tropics. It is a fast growing evergreen tree that can reach up to 80 feet tall (24 meters).

This tree can will do well at elevations up to 1,500 feet (450 meters) but have a harder time in elevations between 1,500 feet and 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).

The trees are monoecious (they have both male and female flowers). There is some scientific certainty that they are pollinated by gall midges that feed on fungus present on the male flowers (Sakia et al. 2000). But,  Orwa C et al. (2009) more broadly report that insects visit the male flowers in the night.

Growing tips for Artocarpus integer:

Once the tree is a few feet tall make sure it gets plenty of sun. Consider support plants like gliricidia which will provide some shade at first and then can be cut back as the chempedak tree matures. Gliricidia will also feeds the young tree with nitrogen.

These are not drought tolerant trees. They need consistent rainfall throughout the year, with at least a minimum mean rainfall of 50 inches (1,270 mm). Otherwise, regular irrigation is recommended.

Cempedak seeds are recalcitrant and should be planted from fully mature fruits and sown as soon as possible. Recorded germination rates are around 75%. Seedlings start bearing fruit after 3-6 years. rafting is a common technique for chempedak and will result in smaller trees and fruit set in 2-4 years. The seeds are relatively true to their parents so less cultivated varieties exist than other exotic fruits. Usually scionwood is gathered from reliable parent trees in the local area.

It is also possible to graft champadek on to jackfruit rootstock, possibly providing a hardier plant. Scion wood should mature but relative in size to the rootstock. Clefts grafts onto young rootstock seedlings (3-5 weeks). Grafted plants will needs a humidity bag and shade for the first several weeks.

In most cases the tree bears most of its fruit on the large branches and trunk. These are large trees and some farmers recommend pruning for ease of harvest. This is best done during wet warm seasons.

They are prone to Rhizopus rot like jackfruit. Prune trees to keep them well venitaled, do not allow water to pool and make sure you remove diseased fruits from the tree and surrounding area as the fungus will persist and re-infest the developing fruits.


P.C.M. Jansen. Artocarpus integer (PROSEA). (2016, May 12). PlantUse English, . Retrieved 04:51, February 4, 2019 from

Orwa C, A Mutua, Kindt R , Jamnadass R, S Anthony. 2009 Agroforestree Database:a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0 (

Sakai, S. , Kato, M. and Nagamasu, H. (2000), Artocarpus (Moraceae)–gall midge pollination mutualism mediated by a male‐flower parasitic fungus . Am. J. Bot., 87: 440-445. doi:10.2307/2656640

Mônica M. de Almeida Lopes, Kellina O. de Souza, Ebenezer de Oliveira Silva,
Cempedak—Artocarpus champeden, Exotic Fruits, Academic Press, 2018, Pages 121-127, ISBN 9780128031384,

Z. Siti Balqis, A. Rosma, Artocarpus integer leaf protease: Purification and characterisation, Food Chemistry, Volume 129, Issue 4, 2011, Pages 1523-1529,
ISSN 0308-8146,

Noor Aziah, Abdul Aziz, Mardiana Ahamad Zabidi, Flour and Breads and their Fortification in Health and Disease Prevention, Chapter 33 – Partial Substitution of Wheat Flour with Chempedak (Artocarpus integer) Seed Flour in Bread, Academic Press, 2011, Pages 365-374, ISBN 9780123808868,

David K. Chandlee. February 2006. Sub-Tropical Fruit Club of Qld Inc.

Rhizopus Rot of Jackfruit. Scot Nelson CTAhR. Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. Plant Disease July 2005 PD- 29

Practical tips growing Cempedak. Tropical Fruit Forum. Accessed on Feb 3rd 2019.

Exotic Fruit: Southeast Asian Cempedak
By Mark Wiens.    Accessed on Feb 3rd 2019.

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How to process macadamia nuts at home

We are super lucky to have such an abundant fruit farm – but MAN! it is a lot of work to figure out how when to harvest, how to process and how to store the large variety of fruit we have. I’m writing this how-to guide on processing macadamia nuts at home as I’m dealing with my second annual harvest from a tree that was planted on the farm by the previous owners. It just started to produce last year (my 6th year here). So I’m guessing our tree is about 13 years old now. Another fun fact about mac nut trees, they self pollinate (almost all varieties at least), so you only need one to get a good fruit set.

Unlike many of my tropical culinary projects, this one may actually be worth the time considering how much macadamia nuts cost in the stores, even in Hawaii. Cassava flour on the other hand… that DYI is a labor of love. For me macadamia nut season is a time when I get to cozy up in the kitchen, put on my new favorite Spanish-Language series and crack nuts all night long.

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How to process macadamia nuts at home

Course: Ingredient preparation
Keyword: macadamia nuts
Author: katiestropicalkitchen



  • freshly havested macadamia nuts


Harvesting Macadamia Nuts

  • Your macadamia nuts will drop from the tree when they are ready to harvest.
  • For ease in harvesting, it is good to mow around the tree on the highest setting regularly. Or, if your tree is an a shadded area with a lot of leaf drop, you can use a leaf blower to seperate the leaves from the shells.
  • I like to harvest them from the ground every 2-3 days, but you can let them sit as long as a week.

Husking the macadamia nuts

  • It is important to husk the macadamia nuts soon after harvesting them about 24 hours. This is because if left in their shell with poor oxygen flow, it will cause mold and make the husks harder to remove, increasing processing time. But, if more time goes by, you can still harvest, remove the half cracked husks, and we like to recommend a thorough cleaning of any mold in warm water first and then food grade hydrogen peroxide.
  • To husk them, I use my macadamia nut cracker. It usually takes one or 2 cracks to remove the husks. Place them on your drying racks.

Drying the macadamia nuts

  • If you have ever tried cracking a mac nut right away you will notice they stick to the shell and they sort of taste like coconut. To get that fatty macadamia nut you crave, you need to reduce the initial moisture content of the macadamia by airdrying it for 2-3 weeks. This can be done in a place that is out of direct sunlight and gets decent airflow. I like to dry ours on our screened in porches. I have the best results using trays with holes on the bottom. Specifically, I use trays from a previous dehydrator we had that broke. They are perfect for enhancing airflow and containing the nuts. I use a china marker to date the trays for easy tracking. Every few days I roll them around a little to get airflow to the different sides.
  • After the initial air drying, you will notice the nuts are more easily removed from the shell but parts still stick. You will also notice a change in color. Pictured to the bottom are mac nuts that have been air-dried about 3 weeks versus the picture on the top only a few days. Now, you need to dry them further at a higher temperature. This is best done in your dehydrator on a low "nut" setting of about 104° F for about 2 days.
    I find my Ivation dehydrator is actually perfect for this. The nuts fit perfecting into the wire mesh drying sheets. If you have extra space – evenly space out the trays so all the nuts get a lots of air.
    About 2 times a day it is good to roll them around a little to change their position. After 2 days you can increase the temperature to 130-150° F and check them every couple hours until the shell is very brittle and cracks easily. When the mac nut is perfectly done you can hear it rattle around inside the shell.
  • If you do not have a dehydrator, you can also use your oven on the lowest setting (mine is 170° F). But they will dry much quicker, which is not necessarily better. If they dry too quick, they may dry unevenly, change color, and they are prone to getting a brown, tough spot in the middle of the nut. This is the case especially when they are roasted and can result in a less desirable taste.

Cracking & storing the macadamia nuts

  • Once they are uniformly dry, cozy up and start the final cracking.
  • The raw macadamia nuts can be kept in an air tight container, but they are best stored in the fridge or freezer. You will also benefit from vacuum sealing them for prolonged life.

Roasting the macadamia nuts

  • You can roast them in the oven on about 275° F for 20-30 minutes, best done on wire mesh baking sheets (like the ones in my dehydrator). If you want them salted toss them in a small amount of oil and salt.


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How to make homemade cassava flour (yucca flour)

Cassava is an excellent starch for the tropical diet. And making homemade cassava flour is a great way to store your crop with minimal space. My husband has been trying to grow cassava on our tropical fruit farm on Big Island for 6 years. But, every time the cassava is ready to harvest the wild boars come dig it up and eat it. Finally, we started planting cassava in our large garden protected by electric netting. This is the first year we have had multiple harvests. It takes a minimum of 6-7 months for smaller roots and for some varieties up to 24 months to harvest. Cassava grows readily from cuttings. If you are in Hawaiʻi and are interested in cassava cuttings, contact me or visit our farm website

How to reduce cyanide in raw cassava

Most how-to recipes for homemade cassava flour tell you to cook cassava pieces first and then grate them. I think this is quite silly. The authors may be worried about cyanogenic compounds (cyanide) in cassava. But if you ever cooked cassava you know it becomes starchy and sticky, and very hard to grate.

There several methods to reduce the cyanogenic compounds (cyanide) in cassava. If you eat these compounds raw they have a toxic effect. There are also varieties with low cyanogenic compounds. One method of reduction is cooking by boiling, steaming or baking. Soaking the cassava in water also reduces the cyanide. Industrial producers of cassava flour rely on the drying and milling process to reduce cyanide levels. In the more traditional version of cassava flour, they ferment the grated cassava to reduce it’s toxicity, and then dry.

Gari – a fermented cassava flour / granules

There is similar product to milled cassava flour, called Gari. Gari is staple in West Africa, in particular Nigeria which is the leading industrial producer of cassava flour. There, they grate Gari and ferment it for 3-7 days. Then they roast it and sift it into cassava granules. Their goal is to achieve a slightly fermented and sour taste while assuring that the cyanogenic compounds are decreased. West Africans use Gari as a side dish, a thickener, and as an ingredient on other dishes, desserts and more.

My method for making homemade cassava flour

This tutorial gives you a few extra steps to reduce the cyanogenic compounds in case you would like to be on the safer side. These steps are optional but if you have the time, they can enhance the quality of the flour. Basically, I soak the peeled cassava in water and hang/slightly fermenting it overnight or up to 24 hours before drying. As I am writing this I have 13 pounds of shredded cassava that have been hanging from my bathtub curtain rod for 24 hours. I actually find the smell really pleasing, sort of nutty.

This is basically a 2-3 day process depending on how much cassava you are processing, if you decide to ferment (and length of ferment) and what time in the day you start. I started with probably 20 pounds of freshly harvested yucca. It took me about and 1 1/2 to peel, core and grate the cassava. Then I hung the cassava in a mesh bag for 24 hours. My drying process took 8-10 hours and by that time it was bed time. Consequently, I kept the pilot light of my oven on to prevent it from re-hydrating or molding, and I “milled” it the next day.

Here is a few more tips:

You are better off processing cassava fresh, within 2-3 days of harvesting. I processed some of the left over cassava on day 4 and there was noticeable deterioration of the root, it started to become streaked, sort of blue and in some cases there was evidence of rot. Also, the ends of the roots which weren’t tapered and clean cut had started to mold.

You can peel and wash and leave in soaked water for a few days in the fridge if you are not ready to deal with the grating or processing.

The knife pictured below is hardly big enough to process really thick roots. For those I use a really heavy duty butchers knife / cleaver.

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How to make homemade cassava flour

This step-by-step tutorial describes how to safely make cassava flour in your own home using a food processor and your oven or dehydrator.
Prep Time3 hrs
Total Time3 d
Course: Ingredient preparation
Keyword: Cassava, Flour, Gluten-free flour, Yucca
Author: katiestropicalkitchen


  • about 20 pounds Freshly harvested cassava root


Peel, wash and core the cassava

  • With a sharp butchers knife, cut the cassava into pieces about 2 inches long (this will make it easier to peel and core. If your cassava if freshly harvested you can wash the cassava before you cut it to avoid dirt all over your counter, but I usually skip this step and wash it after peeling.
  • Using a smaller knife like a paring knife, make a deep incision in the thick peel of the piece, working around the cassava remove the peel (it's pretty easy).
  • Wash the cassava and place it in a bowl/pot of cool water. This will aid in reducing the toxic compounds, while you prepare the remaining cassava
  • If your cassava is larger than 1 ½ diameter it will probably have a woody core. To ensure your end product is digestable, it is best to take action to remove this. Simply cut the 2 inch piece into 4 pieces and slice a "triangle" off of each where you see the cassava sort of change color and texture, almost like a ring of a tree inside.

Grate and ferment the cassava

  • Grate your cassava in a food processor with the grater attachment.
  • Is you choose to, you can ferment the cassava at this stage to get a slightly nutty and more pronounced flavor. Using a mesh bag, hang the cassava for 5 – 24 hours, moving it around every once in a while to aerate the surface areas.

Dry Cassava

  • If you are using your oven, set it to the lowest temperature (mine goes to 170° F) I Spread the cassava out in a thin layer on baking sheets and prop a spoon in the door to let air escape (or use lever that is meant for broil). Depending on how thin the layer is you may need to mix the shreds every few hours. Should be done in 5-10 hours depending on thickness*
  • If you are using a dehydrator, place on trays in a thin layer and dehydrate on the highest setting ~159° F. For even results you should rotate the trays 1-2 times. The top trays dry quicker than the bottom.**

Mill the cassava shreds

  • If you have a small batch you can try putting directly into your high speed blender, pulse and shake it up every few pulses to achieve an even texture
  • For larger batches I recommend, using your food processor to chop the shreds into finer particles and then process in your blender.
  • To mill in your blender, fill the blender 1/3 full and pulse the first few times before putting on high speed for about 30 seconds. Make sure to have your counters clean without clutter because the flour particles will get everywhere when you open the blender.
  • At this stage there still may be gritter particles. You can sift them out now or sift them out according to the recipe you use. I've made bread with 1/4 homemade cassava flour and have used the flour in veggie burgers and never noticed the gritty parts. But If I was making something from just the flour I would probably sift out the grits and re-blend. For best result, in a tropical climate store in airtight bag in the fridge or freezer.


*The last batch I did was 13# of shredded cassava. It took using both my dehydrator and my oven full in relatively thick layers (1/2 inch). The oven cassava was done after 7 hours. You can subtract time from this if you are doing a smaller batch with thinner layers. Be aware if you over cook the cassava you will be roasting it. Which may have a nice flavor depending on what you plan to use it for.
**For my dehydrator -again my layers were thick – and it took about 10 hours after mixing up the shreds a little and rotating the trays).

More Resources:

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How to prepare fresh cassava or yucca root

Cassava or also known as Yuca or Yucca is an excellent root vegetables that grows easily in the tropics. The latin name is Manihot esculenta, and it is in the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family). Throughout the tropics it is grown for its use as a starch vegetable, cassava flour/tapioca starch, breads, tapioca, and it is also distilled into an alcoholic beverage.

As I write this article on how to cook fresh cassava – I am actually experimenting with it for my first time. I’ve lived on my husband’s farm on the Big Island now for 6 years but for the first several years any time our cassava crop was ready the wild boar population on our farm would devastate them. Finally, after putting a solar electric sheep netting farm around our huge garden we decided to dedicate some space to planting cassava. We planted it last spring and now the roots are huge!

Cassava has a compound called cyanogenic glycosides which are toxic. Cooking reduces it to safe levels. Cooking water should be discarded after cooking.

Cassava is rich in complex carbohydrates, iron, and fiber and is a healthy unprocessed food choice to incorporate into a balanced diet. It is also renowned for it’s effect on fertility and is thought to increase or cause hyperovulation, in turn increasing likelihood of twins. There is actually an entire industry based around cassava root as a fertility supplement although peer reviewed scientific articles seem harder to come by.

To prepare the fresh cassava root…

  1. Using a sharp butchers knife, cut off the ends of the root to make an even cut.
  2. Then, cut into about 2 inch size chunks, about as long as your fingers.
  3. With a pairing knife make an incision in the thick skin and remove peel to expose just the white interior of the root.
  4. And then cut in half twice, making four pieces as pictured below. Cassava has a hard, fibrous core. If the diameter is about a big as your fist, you’re going to want to consider cutting out the core as pictured below. You can also just cook it first and remove core later.
  5. You can cook cassava a few ways:
  6. You can steam, boil, or pressure cook cassava. After doing the inital cooking you can them do a shallow pan fry to make yucca fries, or use your air fryer.

If you want to get more creative try using cassava as a starch in a veggie burger recipe, like my Cassava Quinoa Burgers. I also use them as a starch in various pureed soups like a green bean and cassava soup, pumpkin and casssava soup, etc. I’ve even used them in place of potatoes in my breakfast fritattas.

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Abiu taste and how to harvest, store and use pouteria caimito

The taste of abiu is hard to compare to any other fruit you’ve had. It’s kind of got the texture of a grape, but is the size of oblong tennis ball. Read more about this exotic fruit below.

Abui taste Katies tropical kitchen


Latin name and family: Pouteria caimito, Sapotaceae

Other names: emperor’s golden fruit, yellow sapote. Trinidad=caimitt or yellow star apple, Colombia=caimo, Ecuador=luma and cauje, Venezuela= temare, Portugal =abieiro, Ghana=alasa.


The fruits are the size of tennis ball to a baseball, or an average of 2-4 inches. It has a smooth skin, which contains irritating latex when it is still green or under ripe. As it matures the abiu becomes bright yellow. It is either round or slightly elliptical and may have one pointed end. The flesh is like a translucent and white gel. One fruit has up to four brown elliptical seeds that are 1 and 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch.

Abiu Taste and Culinary Uses:

Abiu has succulent, refreshing flesh, which tastes pleasantly sweet. Some people describe it as a mix between maple syrup and caramel. The texture of the pulp is like gel, it is smooth and not grainy (like chico). Although abui has a unique flavor, the flavor is still subtle and may be overpowered by combining it with many ingredients. A little lime juice will bring out the flavor more.  Most people consider abiu best when eaten slightly chilled.  It also has applications for juices, smoothies, ice cream, sorbet etc.

Abui taste

Harvest and Storage:

You can pick abiu while still slightly under ripe to almost bright yellow. Yet, they bruise easily. Thus, they should be put in padded containers when you transport them to markets. Fruits ripen in up to 5 days and have a shelf life of 7-14 days at 40-50° F. Moreover, you should keep the stored fruits out of direct sunlight.

Health benefits:

Abiu fruit is a significant source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, and vitamin C (180% the RDI of Vitamin C). The fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals: thiamine 0.2 mg, riboflavin 0.2 mg, niacin 3.4 mg, Vitamin C 49 mg, calcium 22 mg and iron 1.8 mg. Brazilians use abiu medicinally to help with coughs, bronchitis and other lung complaints.

Growth patterns:

This fruit tree thrives in tropical areas. In Hawaii it will grow up to 3,000 feet elevation. Whereas, in South America it has been known to grow at up to 6,000 feet elevation. These trees grow from 30-120ft tall. Mature trees may produce anywhere from 100-1000 fruits a year. Abiu has multiple bearing times throughout the year.

Abiu is generally propagated by seeds, although grafted varieties ensure less variation. Seeds should be planted as soon as possible. Some people dry the seeds in shaded, open air for a few days and then plant the seeds 2 inches deep. Abiu seeds germinate in 15-20 days and they should be planted 20 feet apart. From fruit set to harvest, the abiu takes around 3 months.

Seedlings produce fruit in as little as 3 years, with a full harvest in 5 years. Young grafted trees used for superior varieties may start bearing in 18 months. Known as a hardy tree, the abiu doesn’t need a lot of attention. However, some people like to give the lower branches a little pruning after about 1 year.


  3. Morton, Julia. (1987). Fruits of warm climates
  5. K. Lim. Abiu. A Botanical and Agronomic Review. May 1991.