In years gone by, it was only possible to purchase and enjoy jackfruit from a can. But nowadays, if you know where to look, you can find fresh jackfruit all year round. Jackfruit can be enjoyed ripe, as a fresh fruit itself or unripe when used in cooking dishes. Its unripe form has the textural properties of stringy pork so it’s used as very popular meat substitute.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Rosales
- Family: Moraceae
- Genus: Artocarpus
- Species: A. heterophyllus
- Binomial name: Artrocarbpus heterophyllus
- A whole jackfruit can contain anywhere from 100 to 500 seeds.
- Unripe jackfruit is treated and prepared as a vegetable while ripe jackfruit is treated and prepared as a fruit
- The Jackfruit tree is considered a “wonder tree” due to the fact that every single part of the tree has a use. The fruit itself is utilized as food. The leaves of the tree can be used to feed livestock. The wood from the free is prized because of its termite resistance and fungus resistant qualities. Even the seeds can be roasted or boiled in salted water and consumed as one would consume a nut.
Jackfruit Buying Guide
The first thing you want to consider when buying jackfruit is what you plan to do with it. If you want to consume it as a fruit, it’s best to purchase it when the outer skin is turning a shade of yellow and brown spots are just starting to form. If you plan to use it as a vegetable in cooking, then a bright green shade is what you’re looking for when it comes to the outer skin. Never buy a jackfruit that is brown all-over because that’s a sign that it’s almost overripe.
Tip: If you plan to use it as both fruit and vegetable, buy it at its unripe form as jackfruits continue to ripen off the tree. Just cover the cut sections with cling film.
Jackfruit Production & Farming in Texas
Due to the jackfruit requiring a 10-12 in the USDA Hardiness Scale, commercial production of Jackfruit is not practiced in Texas or anywhere in the USA. Though some avid fans of the fruit have had some successes in raising a tree of their own inside their greenhouses.
The USA supply of jackfruit is usually imported from Brazil, Asia and sometimes from Mexico.
The jackfruit has two main pests, namely the Jackfruit Borer (Margaronia sp) and the common fruit fly. The use of carbaryl and gamma BHC at least once a fortnight at a concentration of 0.1% of the active ingredient is the most common way to protect the Jackfruit tree from the Jackfruit Borer.
Bagging the fruits is also a very effective way to prevent loss of crop from the named pests.
The jackfruit is native to humid tropical and near-tropical climates which explains its popularity in a lot of Asian regions. The jackfruit tree is very sensitive to extreme drought and frost during its early years but it can grow into a very hardy tree once it reaches fruiting age.
Propagation of the Jackfruit is through seeds and germination usually takes around three to four weeks. Once seeds germinate and at least three or four leaves are visible, they are then transplanted to the fields with most fields containing 69 trees per acre.
Jackfruit is available in both forms when it comes in its canned form. Ripe jackfruit is canned in sugar syrup and unripe jackfruit is labeled as “Young Jackfruit” and is canned in a brine or water.
In its raw form, jackfruit is usually displayed in its whole fruit form. Depending on the retailer, jackfruits are sold either whole or cut into parts.
Jackfruit wasn’t popular in the United States until recently. Its sweet pungent meat turned off a lot of people, and it still does to this day. The jackfruit has gained popularity due to its reputation of being a gluten free and soy free alternative to meat.
What was relatively unknown in the USA has become an almost overnight sensation with “Pulled Pork Jackfruit” becoming menu-items in a lot of vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
Young jackfruit can stay on the countertop until it ripens. Ripe jackfruit should be separated from the seeds, and packed in an airtight container. Ripe jackfruit can be refrigerated for up to seven days and can be frozen for up to two months.
To use young jackfruit as a meat substitute, it is first boiled for about 45 minutes or until the inner flesh is soft and stringy with a texture like shredded chicken or pulled pork. It can be used as a direct substitute for any recipe that uses meat directly.
A hundred grams of ripe jackfruit provides 95 calories and is basically made out of simple sugars like sucrose and fructose which can give a quick boost to the body when consumed.
- Carbs: 40 grams
- A serving of jackfruit contains 3 grams of dietary fiber
- Jackfruit is rich in dietary fiber which helps protect the colon by binding to the waste and expelling it from the body.
- A serving of jackfruit contains 3 grams of protein
- Jackfruit is low protein, making it a better choice for diets that require lower protein content.
- Vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A:
- A serving of jackfruit provides 10% of RDI
- This provides a vital role in antioxidant and vision functions
- Required for maintaining the integrity of the skin.
- Consumption of jackfruit has been found to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers due to its vitamin A content
- Vitamin C:
- A serving of jackfruit contains 18% of RDI
- Consumption of vitamin C helps fight off infections
- A serving of jackfruit contains 11% of the RDI
- One of the rare fruits that is rich in B-Complex group Vitamins
- One serving of Jackfruit contains 15% of the RDI
- Magnesium supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heartbeat steady
- Helps regulate blood glucose levels
- A serving of Jackfruit contains 14% of the RDI
- Helps with fluids that are controlling heart rate and regulating blood pressure
- A serving of Jackfruit 16% of the RDI
- Manganese helps your body utilize different vitamins
- Ensures proper liver function
- Vitamin A: