A 52-year-old homemaker in Kerala has transformed her love for jackfruit-based dishes into a thriving business venture and that too by launching innovative jackfruit-based products from pasta to chocolates. Meet Rajasree R, a resident of Thiruvananthapuram, whose journey from a humble home cook to a successful entrepreneur is inspiring many.
Rajasree’s fascination with jackfruit, a versatile tropical fruit, began in her childhood when her mother used to prepare traditional dishes using this abundant local produce. As the years went by, her affection for jackfruit only grew stronger and she decided to experiment with creative recipes mainly by converting the fruit into a powder form and use it to make pasta and other products which her children like.
“I knew the health benefits of jackfruit and my mother used to prepare a lot of jackfruit chips and other recipes using it. As me and my family were in Qatar for years, we used to take along with us sun dried jackfruit and its seeds for cooking whenever we return to Qatar after vacation in our native place at Nooranad in Alappuzha,” Rajasree told “Open Digest“.
When Rajasree returned to Kerala in 2016 for her children’s education, she began exploring means to start a venture of herself by making value-added food products from jackfruit. She approached Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Kayamkulam where she learnt about the possibility of dehydrating the jackfruit and the seeds for storing for a longer period and converting the fruit into powder.
“Soon I started looking at the options to convert the fruit into pasta. Finally, I could get help from Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI) in Thiruvananthapuram. We approached CTCRI with the powder and they provided the tech to convert the flour into pasta via a paid technology transfer,” she added.
After months of experimentation, she unveiled her initial range of products under the brand name “FruitNRoot”: jackfruit-based pasta and burger patties. Her offerings were an instant hit, capturing the essence of jackfruit’s natural goodness in every bite. The pasta boasted a rich and hearty texture, while the burger patties combined the fruit’s meaty consistency with an array of aromatic spices.
She sets up a manufacturing facility at her native place in Nooranad collaborating with local farmers and simultaneously providing employment to local women. Her venture not only offers delectable alternatives to maida-based pasta but also promotes the use of locally sourced, eco-friendly ingredients. Rajasree has now expanded her product line to include jackfruit-based Gulab jamun mix, cake mix, Jacfruit millet products and soup mix.
As Rajasree looks ahead, she says that replacing maida-based pasta with jackfruit-based pasta is not an easy task as people are already addicted to the taste of maida. “We are educating the people about the health benefits of jackfruit based food products. Slowly people, mainly children, are opting for our products,” she said.