What is Jackfruit?

Jackfruits is a name that we are hearing more, and more often when we go into restaurants. Especially when we are looking at vegan dishes to satisfy our cravings. Once we order the dish, there is nothing on our plate that looks like fruit. But how is this possible? And what exactly is a jackfruit?

Jackfruit is a fruit that grows on the tropical Jack tree. It is related to the mulberry, fig, and breadfruit family. It is a big green fruit on the outside. When you open it up, you will see many large white or yellowish seeds inside, that are covered by fruit meat.

Jackfruit is not only healthy, and used in many vegan dishes, but also very yummy in taste. I remember very well when I ate my first jackfruit and since then I wanted to know more about this amazing fruit from mother nature. Therefore, I dove a bit deeper into what it is, and why we use it the way we do.

Where Does Jackfruit Come From?

As mentioned before jackfruit is a fruit that hangs onto the jack tree. It grows in a tropical climate and grows in Asia, Africa, and South America. It takes the tree about three to four years to grow. Once it is full size and strong enough to grow a jackfruit. The jackfruit will take approximately 90- 110 days. For a fruit as big as this one that is pretty quick, wouldn’t you say?

What Does Jackfruit look like?

Jackfruit is a big green fruit. The outside layer has a bumpy structure. Once you open it up you will meet an inside full of bulbs or seeds. These seeds contain flesh around a stringy core.

How big can a jackfruit grow?

As mentioned multiple times in the article, the jackfruits are immense fruits, the largest one in the world to be exact. It can reach a height of sixty cm or two feet.  Weighing up to eighteen grams or forty pounds. As you can imagine the tree trunk needs to be sturdy and strong in order to be able to hold such a big fruit. 

Why Does Jackfruit Taste Like Meat?

Jackfruit is often used as a substitute for meat. The inside of the jackfruit and edible part of the fruit has a fibrous texture, which is similar to meat. Most people compare it to pork and beef. The taste is somewhat bland which makes it a great product to add spices to. It is often said that jackfruit makes the flavor of the spices that it is cooked in.

The jackfruit can be boiled, grilled, or added to a curry dish for example. The texture of the meat of the fruit is the reason why it is so often used as a meat substitute, and can be found in many vegan dishes around the world today. 

What Does Jackfruit do to Your Body?

Apart from jackfruit being a good substitute for meat because of its taste and texture it also contains many health benefits that we humans need in our daily lives. The jackfruit contains many different nutrients including:

  • Fiber
  • Protein
  • Vitamine C
  • Vitamine B
  • Potassium

Based on scientific research these nutrients are said to help manage different levels in our bodies. Like sugar, and blood. Apart from that, it also helps to manage your weight. People also eat it because they believe it helps promote healthy skin and is a good friend to the heart. As it keeps your heart happy and healthy.

Apart from these benefits many researchers today are trying to discover what else the jackfruit can do for us and our bodies. For now, many researchers are focussing on diseases like cancer, heart disease, and eye problems. So far research has proven that jackfruit can help when it gets added to your diet. 

Depending if you eat the fruit ripe or unripe this will also have an effect on the number of nutrients that the fruit contains and the amount that our bodies are able to absorb. 

How can I eat Jackfruit?

Before we get into many yummy dishes that can be made starring jackfruit, it might be useful to know how to prepare the jackfruit first.

Preparing jackfruit
First, you must cut into the jackfruit.
It is best to use a sharp knife. Carefully slice it through the middle. So that you get two equal halves. Lay the jackfruit with the flesh facing up. The large white central stem can be cut into small pieces and removed. 

  • Turn the fruit inside out

Hold the outside layer of the fruit with a firm grip. Push the seeds to the top and grab them out of the flesh. It looks a bit like pulled pork. You will need to repeat this process until you have extracted all of the seeds. Don’t forget that you have two sides!

*Tip* The jackfruit consists of sticky sap. This can stick to your hands, clothes, and anywhere you don’t want it to. This is why people use oil on their hands and on their knife when cutting into the jackfruit. Vegetable oil will due. This will make the process go a lot smoother. 

  • Choose your method
    The edible part is the fleshy pods that protect the seed. If you want to consume the seed as well you will need to choose your method of cooking.

Once all the flesh is removed you have two options

  1. Boil
    One option is to boil the jackfruit seed for approximately 15 minutes. It will get a boiled potato kind of structure, with not that much taste. Most of the taste is inside the fleshy pods around the seed as mentioned above.
  2. Roast
    The second option is to roast the seed. This will give it a firm texture instead a soft-boiled texture. The easiest way to do this is to place the seeds inside the oven at around 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 204 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. 

-Add them to your dish

Once the jackfruit flesh is removed, the seeds are either boiled or roasted, it is time to add them to your dish. 

Ideas for dishes with jackfruit

– Spicy salade

Add some extra flavor to your salad by prepping some jackfruit, spicing it up, and adding it to a fresh salad. This makes the salade a bit more special.

-As a meat substitute
The famous pulled jackfruit dishes. Adding the flesh of the pods to a dish can create a special meat kind of texture to your dish. You can make pulled pork for example. If you want to get close to the taste of real pulled pork that is also made of port it gets recommended to use the same spices. The only difference is that you will need to marinate the jackfruit.

  • Thai curry

Another nice option is to add the beans or flesh to a curry dish and let it simmer for a while. This way the jackfruit will absorb all the nice flavors in your dish. 

In the end, you can add jackfruit to any dish you like. Just use some nice spices to give it some extra taste. The texture will make the dish special. 

Can Jackfruit be Eaten Raw?

Jackfruit can be eaten raw. It is eaten like any other fruit or added to desserts. Because the jackfruit is pretty neutral in flavor it is more often used in savory cooking. Some people say that it is healthier for the body once it is cooked or boiled. The opinions differ so it is best to figure out what works for your own body.

Ripe jackfruit

If you want to eat the jackfruit raw it is best when it is ripe. The ripe fruit will have a similar taste to tropical fruits like mango or pineapple. This flavor will only be present when the fruit is fully soft and ripe. For this reason, people often add ripe jackfruit to smoothies, smoothie bowls, or juices.

Some Final Thoughts About the Magical Jackfruit

As described above Jackfruit has many positive trades. It is a beautiful fruit, the largest one in the world, that contains lots of healthy nutrients for us all to enjoy. In most countries, you won’t be able to find the fruit as it comes from the tree. Often the jackfruit is canned. This jackfruit is the jackfruit that gets used in many restaurants as a meat substitute for meat, or just as a way to enrich the dish. It is a fruit that we recommend you to try at least once so you can decide for yourself if you like it or not. We have never heard anyone say that they don’t like it. That to us says something. 

We are very curious to hear what part of the jackfruit you like most and in what way you prefer to prepare it. Also, which dish do you add it to, or if you prefer to eat it as it is in a raw state, will you let us know? If you have any recommendations on ways to eat the jackfruit we are also happy to hear!

Frederik Lamote

Frederik is the founder of Koroway.com, a startup that is 3D printing Treehouses. While exploring treehouse locations around the world he got fascinated by the value and products trees produce.

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