The jackfruit, also called Jacob fruit or jaca, is the largest tree fruit on earth. It is up to 90 cm long and reaches a diameter of 25-50 cm with a weight of up to 15 kg. The outer skin of the jackfruit consists of a 5-10 mm thick hard shell with small spiky pimples. In the ripening state, the shell is green and secretes a milk-like, sticky juice. The scent of the shell in its ripe state is intensely sweetish. With increasing maturity, the shell turns yellow to yellowish-brown, is barely sticky and can be pressed in with your fingers a little. The inside of the jackfruit contains yellow fruit flesh pockets that radiate around a stalk. The flesh resembles in taste and smell a blend of banana and pineapple. In the pulp pockets are several 2-4 cm large, light seed kernels.
There are two different types of jackfruits
- Very juicy pulp (Jaca mole = Soft jackfruit)
- Firm pulp (Jaca dura = Hard jackfruit)
Origin & cultivation
Originally the jackfruit was native to southern India. Portuguese sailors brought them to Brazil hundreds of years ago, sealing their worldwide triumph. Today it is grown in various tropical regions of the world, where they grow at heights of up to 25 meters. The jackfruit grows 180 to 200 days directly on the tree trunk. Every year, up to 30 fruits grow on a tree, which are harvested in different months depending on the region.
The most important growing areas are South China, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil and Kenya.
How does it taste?
Jackfruit is very difficult to describe in terms of taste. Here are some opinions:
- Caramel-sweet, like a syrup with pineapple
- Tastes very delicious, is difficult to classify
- Dried jackfruit is reminiscent of a mixture of pineapple and gummy bears
- Tastes similar to dried apricot
The jackfruit contains many different minerals, vitamins and trace elements. These include in particular, iron, calcium, magnesium and the vitamins of the B group. Average nutritional value (per 100 g, fresh)
- Calorific value(kcal): 70
- Protein: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 15 g
- Fat: 0,04 g
Average nutritional value (per 100 g, fresh)
- Calorific value(kcal): 319
- Protein: 1,84 g
- Carbohydrates: 78 g
- Fat: 0,03 g
Use and recipes
It is common in Brazil and many regions of Asia that the pulp can be bought on the roadside and on markets, while it is ready to be eaten. Usually Jaca is also eaten in its growing regions as a fruity snack. Did you know that this fruit can help fight starvation? Not alone, of course - but partly. This is because many people do not know how to eat jackfruit properly and thus far too much of the nutrition rich fruit is wasted. In addition, according to a video by Tech Insider, the kernels of the fruit contain important nutrients that almost always end up in the garbage. Therefore, better education about the use of the fruit should help to reach its full potential.
Use of the ripe fruit
Cooked, roasted, raw, stewed or grilled: the pulp of the jackfruit is versatile. In addition to the direct fruit typical consumption, it can be used to make fruit puree, cakes, sorbet, fruit salads, ice cream, smoothies and pudding. Also juices, liqueurs and syrups based on the pulp are mixable.
Use of the unripe fruit
Especially for vegans and vegetarians, the unripe fruit offers a great meat substitute. In this state, the consistency is similar to that of chicken breast. For this, the unripe pulp is often fried in a pan and seasoned to taste.
Tips for preparation
The soft version of the jackfruit can be opened easily by just using your hands. On the other hand, when it comes to the hard form, the skin is first cut open with a knife and the fruit is then torn in half to avoid injury to the inside fruit.