Jackfruit

13 Interesting Facts About Jackfruit

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Introduction

The jackfruit is an exotic, tasty, and nutritious fruit that is growing in popularity around the world. Native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, the jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The unique jackfruit has a distinctive, sweet flavor when ripe and becomes an ingredient in curries and other savory dishes when unripe or green.

While the fruit may be unfamiliar to many Westerners, its use in cuisine dates back thousands of years in Asia. Beyond its culinary qualities, the jackfruit also provides many health and environmental benefits.

Here are 13 fascinating jackfruit facts that may surprise you:

Facts About Jackfruit

Jackfruits in a tree
Jackfruits in a tree by Henrique Vicente is licensed under CC0 1.0 .
  1. Jackfruits Can Grow Very Large
    • Jackfruits are the largest tree-borne fruits in the world, reaching 80 pounds or more in weight and up to 36 inches long and 20 inches diameter.
  2. Its Flesh Has a Unique Texture
    • When ripe, the inner flesh is yellow and sweet with a taste resembling a blend of apple, pineapple, and banana. It has a gummy texture similar to bubblegum.
  3. The Seeds Are Edible Too
    • The large jackfruit contains 100-500 edible seeds encased in a yellow pulp. When roasted, the seeds taste similar to chestnuts.
  4. It’s Related to Breadfruit and Fig Trees
    • Jackfruits are members of the Moraceae plant family, which also includes figs, breadfruit, and mulberries. The jackfruit tree itself can grow over 100 feet tall.
  5. Jackfruit “Meat” is Versatile
    • When unripe or green, jackfruits have an earthy taste and meat-like texture. This allows it to be adapted into vegetarian versions of pulled pork or chicken.
  6. It Offers Important Nutrients
    • Jackfruits provide a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron and riboflavin. The seeds also offer protein.
  7. Most Jackfruits Grow in India
    • India produces the most jackfruits worldwide, growing over 95% of global production. Other top producers include Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
  8. It Could Help Feed the Planet
    • As a high-yield food source requiring little maintenance, some organizations tout the jackfruit as a crop that could help fight world hunger.
  9. They Have a Short Shelf Life
    • Ripe jackfruits have a short shelf life, lasting only a few weeks after maturity even with refrigeration. Unripe jackfruit can last much longer, however. Proper storage methods like freezing or canning can also extend its usable life.
  10. You Can Make Jackfruit Leather
    • Food producers have created fruit leather from jackfruit as a chewy, nutritional snack for people of all ages. Jackfruit leather incorporates the sweet flesh and juices into a taffy-like dried product.
  11. The Wood Has Practical Uses Too
    • The jackfruit tree produces a durable, resistant timber that can be used to construct furniture, musical instruments like drums, and even building materials. The wood also yields a yellow dye.
  12. It Could Replace Plastic
    • The growing movement against single-use plastics has spawned jackfruit alternatives like waterproof packaging created from jackfruit waste products. These biodegradable options could replace polyethylene and other plastics.
  13. They Grow Right off the Trunk
    • Unlike most fruits growing at branch ends, jackfruits emerge directly from the trunk and older branches of the tree. The large fruits have short stems attached to woody growths.
durian fruit

FAQ: Jackfruit

What does jackfruit taste like?

Ripe jackfruit has a sweet taste, reminiscent of a blend of fruits including bananas, apples, and mangoes. When unripe, it has a neutral flavor, which makes it a good meat substitute in savory dishes due to its texture.

Is jackfruit healthy?

Yes, jackfruit is nutritious, offering a rich supply of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. It has potential health benefits such as improved blood sugar control and can be a healthy addition to your diet, either eaten plain or in recipes.

What should you avoid eating after jackfruit?

After consuming jackfruit, it’s advised to avoid carbonated beverages as they can increase stomach acidity. Also, eating papaya alongside jackfruit may lead to digestive issues due to their high fiber content.

Does jackfruit taste like pineapple?

While jackfruit’s appearance might be unfamiliar, the ripe fruit has a sweet flavor that is often compared to a mix of tropical fruits including pineapple, mango, and banana, making it quite similar to Juicy Fruit gum.

How can you incorporate jackfruit into your diet?

Jackfruit can be eaten on its own when ripe, or used in various dishes. Unripe jackfruit has a meat-like texture and can be used as a meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan recipes, such as tacos, curries, and sandwiches.

Conclusion

In areas like South and Southeast Asia, jackfruits have been a dietary staple for centuries. Only recently has their unique, versatile nature attracted global interest as a sustainable crop and meat alternative. Whether eaten as a sweet treat or a savory substitute, jackfruits offer nutritional and environmental benefits that support good health.

From their mammoth size and curious growing habits to their potential to help feed Earth’s growing population, jackfruits reveal fascinating details that continue to surprise and delight people today. So next time you spot this unusual fruit, take a closer look at the diverse roles it can play.


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