Jumbo Jackfruit!

The Tropical Garden, Fall 2010

By Noris Ledesma

The jackfruit originates in Southeast Asia and is known for its delicious taste and massive size. Most fruit range between 30 and 60 pounds and hang directly from the trunk of the tree. The fruit’s skin is a thick, semi-spiny covering that houses hundreds of starchy seeds.

Each seed is surrounded by a bulb of aromatic flesh that is extremely sweet when ripe, with a distinctive flavor reminiscent of bananas and “Juicy Fruit” gum. The bulbs can be used in fruit salads, ice cream, boiled with rice or coconut milk, in soup and even with fish. They are also excellent dried or preserved in syrup. The seeds are also edible and nutritious, consisting of 38% carbohydrate, 6.6% protein and 0.4% fat, and taste a little like cheese. They may be prepared in several ways. For instance, boil the seeds for five minutes and then roast them in a heavy frying pan with a little oil. Similar results are obtained by cooking them in a microwave oven. Use a low setting for about two minutes, enclosing the seeds in a bag, as they may tend to “explode.” If you want a real treat, try roasting jackfruit seeds over the coals of your next barbecue.

Whether it’s the tasty jackfruit bulbs you desire or the nutritious seeds, the jackfruit is sure to be a family favorite.

Your children will never forget the first time you place a 50- pound jackfruit on the kitchen counter next to the apples and bananas! The jackfruit can be used many ways, including the delicious burrito recipe to the right.


Jackfruit Beef Burritos

  • 1 large jackfruit
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried whole oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce, divided
  • 6 flour tortillas, 8-inch size
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 1 pound lean ground beef

Prepare jackfruit seeds:

  • Cut ripe jackfruit in half.
  • Remove the bulbs. Every bulb will contain one seed. Use a knife to remove the seeds. (The bulbs can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days or frozen for months.)
  • Place the seeds in a plastic bag and heat for about two minutes in the microwave on low until they open up a little, then peel the first thin layer of skin—translucent and tough as nails, it turns opaque when heated.
  • Boil the seeds in salted water until they can be easily mashed with a fork.

Next, in a large skillet, brown ground beef and add onion and garlic.

Drain well, then add chili powder, jackfruit seeds, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. 

Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the enchilada sauce, cooking until heated. Keep warm.

Wrap tortillas in foil; bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Spoon about ½ cup ground beef mixture on each warm tortilla.

Roll tightly and place seam-side down on a shredded lettuce-lined serving platter. When all burritos are made, spoon remaining enchilada sauce over the burritos. Garnish with your choice of toppings.

This burrito recipe can be made in advance without garnishes and frozen, then heated in the microwave to serve. You can freeze the burritos on a cookie sheet, then wrap in foil and store in food storage bags.