What is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a very large fruit that can weigh between 30 to 80 pounds. It is elongated with prickly skin and bright yellow fruits. A ripe jackfruit has a very distinct, sweet and fruity smell. Before opening a jackfruit oil both gloves and knife and place newspaper or any covering on the work area. The sternum at the center of the fruit produces this gooey sticky sap that will stick on anything and difficult to remove. The fruit and the fibrous rag that surrounds the fruit is neither sticky.
How to Eat Jackfruit and Seed?
Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit that originated in Southwest India but can also be found in Southeast Asia and in the Americas. In the Philippines, it is called langka. Both unripe and ripe jackfruit are consumed in the Philippines. The most popular way to cook the unripe jackfruit is with coconut milk. Ripe jackfruit can be eaten as is, a dessert or candy, ice cream flavor, halo-halo or turon.
The fruit is surrounded by fibrous rags. Pull the fruit, open and remove the seed. Both fruit and seed are edible. Remove the slippery covering around the seed. In a pot, add water, jackfruit seeds, salt and boil until tender. Drain water and let it cool down. To eat the seed, remove the hard covering. Depending on your preference you may or may not peel the soft brown covering.
Watch my video "What is Jackfruit and How to Eat Jackfruit?".
How to Eat Jackfruit
I was compelled to write about Jackfruit since I see it all over on tv. It is a trendy fruit at the moment. I assumed most Asians are familiar with the fruit. Maybe? Many months ago I was flagged down by an older couple and was asked how to eat the jackfruit. The store sold the whole fruit, cut into smaller pieces or fruit already packaged. So the other question they had was which one to purchase. By the way, the couple were in their mid 70’s and the lady was Asian. To my surprise she was not familiar with it. I told them I buy it cut but suggested that they buy the packaged fruit. They were so excited to find me and very grateful that I helped them.
With the packaged fruit the seeds are already removed. That is the reason why I buy the smaller piece I also like the seeds. It taste like chestnut. For the longest time I thought jackfruit seeds were the same as the Brazilian nuts. Nope, I was wrong. They just looked very similar. Anyway, when we were younger my mom used to boil these seeds and we ate it as snacks.
Years ago when jackfruit started popping up in Asian markets in the US they were sold whole. Stores finally realized people will not buy it. So they started selling smaller pieces or packaged fruit. When I make turon (plantain wrapped in wonton wrapper) or halo halo (mix of fruits and yams) I prefer to use canned jackfruit.
I been back to the Philippines a few times but don’t remember seeing a jackfruit tree. You know where I saw one – in Maui, Hawaii. We were driving the Road to Hanna and along the cliff were some jackfruit trees. I was so excited to see it there.
What are the health benefits of Jackfruit?
It is loaded with nutrients including calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A & C and B vitamins.
Can you freeze the Jackfruit?
Yes, once you have removed all the fruits and seeds place in an air-tight container. It is delicious frozen. Leave it out for 2 minutes and eat frozen.
Can I add the Jackfruit to smoothies?
Yes you can.
Where to buy Jackfruit?
Most Asian stores carry it. I'm not sure if Hispanic or Latino stores would have it.
What is the taste of Jackfruit?
Wikipedia describes its taste as a combination of apple, banana, mango and pineapple. Maybe a combination of mango and pineapple - but not really. As long as it is ripe and sweet you might like it. It doesn't taste weird.
This is what's left once you have picked all the fruits. These fibrous rags are edible but not sweet so I just discard it. Sometimes some of them are sweet and I add it to my smoothie.