Jackfruit The Largest Fruit in the World
The Tropical Garden, Fall 2014
By Noris Ledesma
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a tropical tree originally native to India and now cultivated throughout the tropics in both hemispheres. It is commonly grown in Burma and Malaysia, and to a certain extent is also grown in Brazil, Mexico, Central America and South Florida.
Jackfruit are highly nutritious and among the most versatile of fruits.The seeds, young fruit and mature varieties are all edible, and the trees’ timber is valuable. Immature jackfruit can be cut into segments,boiled and eaten like a vegetable. It can also be stuffed or sautéed and mixed with any kind of meat. The seeds are good boiled and roasted.
Ripe fruit can be chilled or mixed in a fruit salad.
The fruit bulbs are used in soups, main dishes, desserts, milk drinks,ice cream and fruit salads. In India, jackfruit is preserved by boiling with sugar syrup, butter and coconut milk. The bulbs freeze well and they may be used at a later time like fresh fruit. Fresh bulbs are excellent dried or preserved in syrup. Jackfruit has a good storage quality because of its thick peel.
Jackfruit trees begin bearing fruit from seven to eight years after planting. Tender fruits are harvested for use as vegetables during early spring and summer, until the seeds harden. The fruit matures, depending on the cultivar, from June to September. Fruit size and weight also vary widely depending on the cultivar.
The latex content of jackfruit also varies widely between cultivars; the stage of maturity and time of year also influence latex quantity. It is best to use latex gloves or coat hands, knives and work surfaces with vegetable oil prior to preparing a jackfruit, in order to minimize the adherence of latex and to ease clean up.
Use your palate as a guide when being creative. Here is one way you can use the largest fruit in the world.
Jackfruit Vegetable Dish
1 large ripe jackfruit, cubed
5 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 red onions
1 seed nutmeg, ground into dry powder
100 grams (approximately 3.5 ounces) cashew nuts
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup of chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
In a pressure cooker, boil potatoes and jackfruit cubes. Grind tomatoes, onions and dry ground nutmeg powder to make a thick paste. Fry the cashews and make a liquid paste. Add tomato, onion and nutmeg paste and stir continuously. Fry for five minutes with olive oil on low heat. Add cumin and turmeric powders together. Add boiled chunks of potatoes and jackfruit to the gravy, along with heavy whipping cream. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Garnish with mint leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.