Jackfruit is an exotic fruit that is found in most Southeast Asian countries but is slowly becoming available in the United States as well. If you’ve seen it around your grocery store and are wondering whether you should try it, here’s what to expect.
Jackfruit meat when underripe is tasteless and fibrous in texture. When ripe it tastes sweet and is firm to soft in texture. When overripe, it tastes overly sweet (almost pungent) and is very soft in texture. Jackfruit seeds tend to have a milky taste, but they taste nutty when roasted.
There are different types of Jackfruit and different ways to eat Jackfruit which can affect the flavor. If you’re interested in this fruit, here’s everything you need to know!
What Is Jackfruit
Jackfruit is a fruit commonly found in Southeast Asia but more specifically, it originates from South India. Nowadays, it is grown in its countries of origin along with Australia, Florida, and Hawaii.
Jackfruits are the largest kind of tree fruit (meaning they grow from trees) and they can grow anywhere from 10-40 inches in length with a diameter of 6-20 inches. They are also quite heavy and can weigh 22-55 pounds (or more). Their skin is thick and bumpy. Inside the fruit, there are pods and seeds.
Generally, the pods are referred to as Jackfruit meat. The pods are described as meat because of their fibrous texture. In fact, Jackfruit meat is a popular meat substitution for vegetarian and vegan dishes. If you want to know when Jackfruit is ripe please check out our article: When Is Jackfruit Ripe, Tips & Pictures
The less popular Jackfruit seeds are also edible. They tend to have a milky taste when boiled, but taste nutty if roasted. If you are looking for the best jackfruit varieties and the overall best jackfruit to grow then you want to take a look at these articles: Best Jackfruit Varieties & Which Jackfruit Is Best: Flavor & Easiest To Grow
Jackfruit Taste Chart
With different varieties of Jackfruit, you can get different flavor experiences. Here is a list of various Jackfruit types and what you can expect to taste and feel (texture-wise) with each one:
|Pleasant, Mild Flavor, Very Little Aroma
|Firm to Crunchy
|Very Sweet Flavor
|Rich and Sweet Flavor, Earthy Aroma
|Kun Wi Chan
|Soft to Moderately Firm
|Very Pleasant Mild Flavor
|Yellow to Orange
|Firm to Crunchy
|Mild to Good
|Dark Yellow to Orange
|Rich, Sweet Flavor, Rich Aroma
|Mild, Good Flavor
|Medium Firm, Soft
|Sweet, Good, Aromatic
|Firm to Soft
|Sweet Flavor, Mild with Pleasant Aroma
|Soft and Melting, Slightly Fibrous
|Excellent Flavor and Very Aromatic
|Medium Firm to Soft
|Flavor is Excellent
|Flavor is Rich and Sweet, Aroma is Rich and Sweet
|Rich, Sweet Flavor
In terms of how Jackfruit will taste depending on ripeness, underripe Jackfruit meat is tasteless and very fibrous, but ripe Jackfruit meat is quite sweet and has a much softer texture (although it usually is still somewhat firm). Many have described ripe Jackfruit meat to taste like a mix between pineapple and mango, while others describe the flavor as a mix between apples and overripe bananas.
Overripe Jackfruit meat takes the sweetness to a new level and can be described as almost pungent in taste with a very strong fruity odor.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a cup of raw, sliced jackfruit contains:
- 157 calories
- 2.84 g of protein
- 1.06 g of fat
- 38.36 g of carbohydrates
- 2.5 g of dietary fiber
- 31.48 g of sugars
- 48 mg of magnesium
- 739 mg of potassium
- 22.6 mg of vitamin C
Along with being a useful ingredient, Jackfruit has several potential health benefits because of its nutrient-packed nature. Consuming the nutrients in Jackfruit may help lower your risk for some health issues, including:
- Constipation – Since Jackfruit is a good source of fiber, it can help in maintaining regular bowel movements. Additionally, this fiber can help you feel full for longer.
- Ulcers – Jackfruit contains natural chemicals that may help prevent ulcers from forming inside your stomach.
- Diabetes – Due to some of Jackfruit’s qualities, your body digests and absorbs it more slowly than other foods. This means it will take longer for your blood sugar to rise in comparison to eating other fruits.
- High blood pressure – One serving of Jackfruit has 21% of your daily value of potassium. This potassium could help lower your blood pressure. Some of the effects of regulating blood pressure is reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and bone loss.
- Skin problems – Jackfruit also has high amounts of vitamin C, which is known to protect your skin from sun damage. Beyond sun damage, having plenty of vitamin C in your diet will consistently work towards keeping your skin firm and strong.
- Cancer – Jackfruit has phytonutrients, which are natural compounds that might have cancer-fighting benefits. It is theorized that these phytonutrients may be able to prevent cancer cells from forming in your body.
How To Eat Jackfruit
The most common way to eat Jackfruit is when it is fresh and ripe, like most other fruits. It can be put in smoothies, yogurt, cereal, and even stirred into ice cream.
When being used as a meat substitute, however, you want to use the young, unripe Jackfruit meat. Most often, this is used in recipes that would normally require pork, such as BBQ sandwiches, tacos, stuffed baked potatoes, pot pies, nachos, stews, etc.
In the United States, it may be hard to find raw Jackfruit. More often than not, you will have to use canned Jackfruit. In this case, make sure to find Jackfruit that has been canned in brine and not syrup. Using syrupy Jackfruit will make your savory recipes a bit too sweet!
If you are wanting to try growing jackfruit then be sure to check out this article: Can Jackfruit Grow in California: Growing Time & Tips
How To Cut Jackfruit
Below is a helpful video on how to cut open a Jackfruit and separate the parts. The creator also shows how to ripen a Jackfruit if after you cut it open you find it’s still underripe.
Now that you know what to expect in eating Jackfruit, go get one and try it yourself! Not only will it be a new and exciting experience for you, but it’s a great story to share with your friends. Maybe they’ll enjoy trying one too!
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