I love eating and trying new fruits as well as eating my favorites. In this fruit post, I share information all about the amazing jackfruit.
A person mentioned to me on YouTube that in India where they live, they call jackfruit the “King of Fruits.” And I can see why. They are absolutely amazing.
Have you ever tried a jackfruit? Have you ever wondered how to cut and eat one? Maybe you want to know what they taste like or what the nutritional benefits are? Curious to know where they come from and grow? Read on as I answer all of those questions.
Where does the jackfruit come from and where do they grow?
Did you know that the jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world? Pretty cool! They are capable of reaching upwards of 100 pounds (45kg).
“Look out below!“
Definitely don’t want one of those falling on top of your head.
The jackfruit originated in parts of India and Malaysia, and are widely grown there. But they have long since been grown and cultivated all around the world. They are well suited to lowland tropical regions and subtropical regions.
Many countries like Africa, Brazil, Australia, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and many islands in the pacific grow this incredible fruit. They even grow well in Florida and of course Hawaii, here in the United States.
Also, jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and the state fruit of Kerala.
These trees can range from 30 to 70 feet tall. And this is one fruit tree that is generally propagated from seeds as opposed to root stock. Because of its long and delicate taproot, it makes transplanting larger saplings difficult.
When grown from seeds, they typically start producing fruit around year 5 or 6. But some varieties may bear fruit sooner or it can take even longer.
Most Asian markets in the United States will sell jackfruit if you want to try them. You can also find it canned in water or syrup. If you don’t want to buy the whole fruit, a lot of times the market will have them cut into smaller chunks that you can buy.
What are the health benefits of Jackfruit?
These giant fruits are loaded with nutritional benefits. Here are a few of them:
- High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Magnesium, and Potassium
- Moderately high in calories per serving
- Very high in fiber
- High in antioxidants
It is safe to eat for most people, very few people are allergic to it. If you would like to learn more about the health benefits you can read this Healthline.com article.
How do you know when the jackfruit is ripe?
For people in most of the United States you will be stuck buying unripe ones at the store and either eating them that way, or you will have to let them ripen at home.
You can speed up the ripening process by putting the jackfruit in a large plastic garbage bag with a few really ripe bananas. Then tie a knot in the opening. The ethylene gas that is omitted from the ripening bananas will help the jackfruit ripen faster.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell when this fruit is ripe, but here is a list of signs that indicate ripeness:
- Strong pungent fruit smell coming from the fruit
- Lost its bright green color and is more brown and yellowish
- No longer hard to the touch, the spiky skin will be softer and have some give, but not too soft.
- It will sound more hallow when thumped.
- If you buy a cut one, the flesh on the inside will be yellow and soft/juicy. Obviously harder to tell when it is whole.
- The spikes or “eyes” all around will be larger
How to cut and eat a jackfruit?
The edible part of the jackfruit is on the inside and is protected by a bunch of stuff. They can be hard to cut into, but the riper ones are a bit easier. There are several methods for cutting into them, this is a common way.
Because the inside has a sticky sap/latex it is usually a good idea to oil the blade, some people even oil their hands. Slice around it lengthwise and then hold it up and slice down, until you can pull it apart in half.
The one shown here that I opened up isn’t quite ripe yet, but that is okay, it is still edible during different stages of ripeness. Some people even prefer it less ripe.
There is a thick hard stem/core that runs through the whole middle. I usually cut it in half again lengthwise. And then half down the middle to make the pieces more manageable.
Run your knife along it and cut out the core/stem. Now you should have easier access to the fruit pods which are what you want to eat.
The fruit pods should be a more orangish-yellow color and they will immediately be surrounding a seed. That is what is eaten, that pod.
You will be able to tell the difference between the pod and the stringy fibers (rags) that surround it and connect it to the stem and the thick spiky skin.
Remove the seeds
Remove the seeds and save them! They can be cooked and eaten as well. Or you can try growing a jackfruit tree!
Now dig the pod out and take the seed out. A small slit in the pod will help get the seed out. I usually have one bowl for the seeds, one bowl for the fruit pods, and a large bag for all the waste. The fruit waste can be composted, and I believe the inside waste is edible for farm animals.
And now you can eat the fruit pods. It can be eaten as is raw, or used in a variety of dishes. Did you know Vegans and Vegetarians regularly eat cooked jackfruit as a meat substitute? When the fruit pods are cooked, and sliced, barbecue sauce is added to make a meatless pulled pork. Pretty neat!
The stringy kind of rubbery “rags” fibrous bits that surround the fruit pots can be cooked as well, it needs to be cooked awhile, this is often part of the “meatless” pull pork recipes.
It is commonly used in curries, custards, cakes, freeze-dried, or fried, etc. Boiled young jackfruit is often. used in salads or as vegetable.
There are several varieties but two main characteristics for the varieties. They are harder and crunchier and less sweet, even when ripe. Or they can be softer and much sweeter and a deeper orangish yellow color.
What does it taste like?
Taste is always subjective. What may taste like something to me may be a little different to you. To me jackfruit tastes like a combination of regular bubble gum, Juicy Fruit gum, pineapple, and Starbursts.
To other people I have heard it described as a subtle pineapple or banana-like flavor. Still others have called the taste between a mix of apples and banana, although I don’t get the apple flavor much.
And when cooked some say it tastes kind of like pulled pork.
Well there you have it, I hoped you learned something knew about this incredible fruit, the jackfruit.
How to Eat Jackfruit and Taste Test (Video)
Now check out the video as I discuss this amazing fruit.
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