A native of South Eastern Asia, this vibrant, vine growing whacky fruit has no comparison. Though odd looking it has huge benefits, but you need to be careful when indulging, as some of it can be poisonous.
This large fruit, which can grow to the size of a rockmelon, starts its life a beautiful shade of neon green and then ripening to a bright hot-orange. This rare fruit is easy to grow in Tropical North Queensland and if the vibrant outside colour isn’t enough to impress then the inside is bound to.
The Gac or Gak is covered in pointy spikes which adds more interest to what’s already a bizarre portfolio of features. With all its glorious colour it doesn’t taste like much though, very delicate and watermelon like.
What it lacks in taste it makes up for in nutritional assets. A newby to the world of nutrient science not too much is known at this time but what scientists know for sure about Gac that it has the world’s most concentrated source of lycopene (as much as 76 times more than tomato). Lycopene is chemically a carotenoid and is the bright red carotene pigment found in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes and papaya. Even though it’s a normal part of our diet, it’s not essential nutrient for us. As you can imagine, it makes a useful food colouring due not only to its rich colouring but also its lack of toxins. It may turn out to be a useful anti-carcinogenic preventing some cancers like prostate.
It has very high levels of Beta Carotene (10 times that of a carrot) making Gac a great help for your eyes. Also, it is an ideal source of Omegas 6 and 9 fatty acids, which of course your body needs but cannot produce on its’ own.
Some notable and unusual bits about Gac; the word Gac is urban language for cocaine, so mentioning you’re going out the back for some Gac, could mean something completely different to some. Also, we heard that Gac came in tablet form in Australia years ago (but have since been banned). They were promoted back in the day as a sun tanning tablet due to the high level of carotene.
The poisonous bit is the yellow pith layer just under the skin, so if you come across Gac in your travels, you should leave that part alone.
You can experience Gac, when in season, at the Mission Beach Tropical Fruit Safari Mon and Tues. at 1pm sharp. Arrive and register prior to 12.45pm.
Angi Matveyeff – CEO Mission Beach Tourism