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Jackfruit – exotic jumbo-sized fruit

Jackfruit is the new meat substitute on the vegetarian scene. The unripe pulp has a succulent and fibrous consistency, reminiscent of poultry breast.


In the USA, this exotic fruit is already featuring on restaurant menus – finely spiced as steak, burger, in a barbecue sandwich or in curries. Ripe jackfruit is very sweet and is used in jams or fruit salads. In parts of Asia the jackfruit was part of staple diets. Even the seeds are edible; they are dried and lightly salted as snack food.

Fruits can weigh up to 30 kilos

The jackfruit tree (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a member of the mulberry family and is at home in the rain forests of the Indian subcontinent. Today the tree is widely cultivated, e.g., in Sri Lanka, southern China, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. The fruits are irregular in shape, have pointed nubs on their skin and are huge. They usually grow to a length of 30 to 50 cm and a weight of 5 to 30 kg. Because of their weight, they hang mostly close to the bole of the tree.

Many healthy ingredients

Slice open a jackfruit and you will find numerous separate hexagonal pods with large seeds. While the unripe jackfruit has virtually no taste of its own, the ripe pulp conjures up memories of pineapples, mangos and bananas. It is high in carbohydrates, minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron, B-vitamins, some provitamin A and vitamin C.

Purchase and preparation

Make sure to buy fruits with an intact skin. A ripe fruit should yield slightly when pressed lightly and emit a dull sound when tapped. To eat from the fruit cut it in half with a heavy knife. The jackfruit contains a sticky latex, so that it is best to rub a bit of vegetable oil on the knife before cutting into the fruit. Then take out the small individual pods and remove the outer skin. If you don’t want to eat the whole fruit at a sitting, open the fruit only part of the way. Wrap the remaining fruit in cling film and store in the refrigerator. Jackfruit is also sold in cans in Asia shops and on the Internet. Canned jackfruit is made with unripe fruit that is skinned, pitted, cut in pieces and pickled in saltwater. The “tree-meat“ is also sometimes sold shrink-wrapped and seasoned with a variety of sauces.


Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de