The gac fruit (Momordica cochinchinensis) looks much like gigantic red Christmas balls hanging from vines in the garden. It is very decorative, but also edible.
Gac fruits (Momordica cochinchinensis) which originate in Southeast Asia are also known as Red Mellon or Baby Jackfruit. I saw my first gacs at the Cholon market in Saigon and naturally wanted to grow them at Discovery Garden Pattaya which was easy.
Gac fruit vines can easily be grown from the flat and unevenly shaped seeds. In Thailand they flower in October and November. Gac fruit vines have male and female flowers and it is helpful to pollinate them.
Harvest of gac fruits is from December until February. In Vietnam where they are most common gac fruits are used in ceremonial cooking at weddings and for the Vietnamese New Year Tet. The red flesh and some seeds are cooked with glutinous rice which adds the red color and gac flavor to the sticky rice.
A healthy juice can be made from the very red gac flesh, but I estimate the decorative qualities of gac much higher than the culinary use. First you get a very decorative climber.
Then the fruits develop. Step by step.
And in the end there is a harvest.
Gac fruits never made it to the supermarkets due to their very limited shelve period: Gacs have to be fully ripe when harvested, but spoil very quickly if not immediately processed. But if you grow them in your garden, that is not a problem. At our Discovery Garden outlets in Nong Khai and Pattaya we have gac plants and gac seeds for sale.