What is Jackfruit?
Jackfruits are a species of the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family and grow on the jack tree. Jackfruits are large and contain many fruit sections within their prickly and inedible outer skin. The skin is green and the flesh inside is a bright yellow. It is the largest fruit in the world and can weigh as much as 110 lbs (50 kg).
- Jackfruit can be eaten as a fruit when mature, as a vegetable when raw, and its seeds are edible, too.
- The ripe fruit is sweet and juicy, although it is considered as a meat replacement fruit among many people.
There are different varieties of this fruit, such as:
- Black Gold
- Chompa Gob
- Dang Rasimi
- Gold Nugget
- Honey Gold
- Kun Wi Chan
- Lemon Gold
Origin of jackfruit
The place of origin was most likely somewhere along the Western Ghats in India. It has also been cultivated in Burma, Sri Lanka, South China, Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia. Later on, it was taken by European colonists and planted in Africa, the Pacific Islands, Mauritius, Australia, Brazil, Jamaica, and other countries. Today, India is the main producer in the world, followed by Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Nepal.
Jackfruit is rich in nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. It contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, and riboflavin in good quantities. The fruit also contains fiber and phytochemicals such as carotenoids, flavonoids, volatile acids, sterols, and tannins. These nutrients offer health benefits, including controlling degenerative diseases, cancer, inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, cataract, and other age-related macular degeneration. Additionally, this food promotes good cholesterol, healthy bones, good skin, and hormonal balance.
One cup (165g) of sliced jackfruit contains:
The cultivation requires a tropical climate with high humidity. It is a sensitive species that cannot stand neither frost nor drought. This fruit requires a rich and deep soil to grow well. One can expect a harvest of at least 150 fruits per tree.
Jackfruit goes bad quickly, so it needs to be refrigerated once ripe. If done correctly, it will stay fresh for about a week. However, it is also possible to purchase this food canned, which offers a much longer shelf life.
This fruit is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are a few recipes:
- Kathal ki Sabzi
- Chakka Varuthathu
- Kadgi Podi
- Jackfruit Tagine
- Fruit Fritters
- Ginataang Langka
- Sago Dessert
- Gulai Nangka Udan
- Boiled Fruit Seeds
- Seed Fry
- Coconut Muffins
- Upside-Down Cake
- Uppalachir Rotti
Jackfruit is not commercially grown in the US. However, the USDA regulates its import.
Jackfruit Varieties, Growables, Inc.
Morton, J. 1987. Jackfruit. p. 58–64. In: Fruits of warm climates, Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Purdue University
Ranasinghe, R A S N et al. “Nutritional and Health Benefits of Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.): A Review.” International journal of food science vol. 2019 4327183. 6 Jan. 2019, doi:10.1155/2019/4327183