YOGYAKARTA – Gudeg is Yogyakarta’s distinctive food made from young jackfruit which is cooked in coconut milk. Gudeg has long been one of the most popular menu loved by tourists visiting the city. However, who would have thought if the young jackfruit used as the main ingredient is supplied from outside Yogyakarta? It is because Yogyakarta has minimal supply of young jackfruit. This has become one of discussion materials done by several experts from Universitas Gadjah Mada. The meeting at Koesnadi Hardjasoemantri Cultural Center facilitated by its management, Wednesday (11/1) produced recommendation that UGM will initiate the development of cultural plants forest, one of which is jackfruit.
Prof. Dr. dr. Sutaryo, SP.A (K), discussion leader and manager of the Center said that they will encourage the cultivation of jackfruit trees in the neighborhood of Yogyakarta to overcome the lack of raw ingredients for gudeg. In addition to functioning reforestation trees, the jackfruit can also increase income. "Therefore, we should select cheaper seeds and better production that can produce better nutrition in gudeg as well," he said.
He added that UGM plans to create three groups whose task is to help the cultivation of crops, gudeg making technology, production and marketing assistance. "We need to think how to create long lasting gudeg without reducing its taste," he said.
In connection with gudeg preservation technology, a food and nutrition researcher of UGM, Dr. Ir. Eni Harmayani, M.Sc., said that she would try to develop a gudeg preservation technology to make it last longer. Gudeg sellers are planned to be given mentoring and training on this technology. "Thailand has begun with canned jackfruit which can stand for one year. I think gudeg can be canned, too, with support of mass production and marketing processes," she said. According to Eni, the type of jackfruit best used as a raw ingredient for making gudeg is green-skinned jackfruit because the texture is compact and it does not fall apart when it is boiled.
Meanwhile, Dean of Faculty of Forestry, Prof. Dr. Ir. Moh. Na'iem, M.Agr.Sc., said that Faculty of Forestry already has jack fruit tree seedlings of 11 varieties that are grown in Wanagama Gunungkidul. "These seeds were taken from 11 provinces," he said.
Sumarjono (63), the owner of the popular restaurant Gudeg Mbarek Bu Ahmad, who attended the discussion, expressed enthusiastically his interest in gudeg preservation technology in the form of cans. "I am very interested in the calls from experts for jackfruit processing," he said.
He said that his business spends 2.5 quintals of jackfruit in a day. The need of jackfruit increases to 5-7 quintals on holidays. Meanwhile, the need for chicken reaches 150-200 per day. "The jackfruit is taken from Muntilan," he concluded.