This is the jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), also known as jack tree, is a species of tree in the fig, and breadfruit family (Moraceae) native to southwest India.
The jackfruit tree is well-suited to tropical lowlands, ands its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much ad 55 kg (120 lb) in weight, 90 cm (35 in) in length and 50 cm (20 in) in diameter. A mature jackfruit tree can produce about 100 to 200 fruits in a year. The jackfruit is a multiple fruit, composed of hundreds to thousands of individual flowers, and the fleshy petals are eaten.
Jackfruit is commonly used in South and Southeast Asian cuisines. The ripe and unripe fruit and seeds are consumed. The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated throughout tropical regions of the world. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and the state fruit of the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet, with subtle flavoring. It can be used to make a variety of dishes, including custards, cakes, or mixed with shaved ice as es teler in Indonesia or halo-halo in the Philippines. For the traditional breakfast dish in southern India, idlis, the fruit is used with rice as an ingredient and jackfruit leaves are used as a wrapping for steaming. Jackfruit dosas can be prepared by grinding jackfruit flesh along with the batter. Ripe jackfruit arils are sometimes seeded, fried, or freeze-dried and sold as jackfruit chips.
The seeds from ripe fruits are edible, and are said to have a milky, sweet taste often compared to Brazil nuts. They may be boiled, baked, or roasted. When roasted, the flavor of the seeds is comparable to chestnuts. Seeds are used as snacks (either by boiling or fire-roasting) or to make desserts. In Java, the seeds are commonly cooked and seasoned with salt as a snack. They are quite commonly used in curry in India in the form of a traditional lentil and vegetable mix curry.
Jackfruit has a distinctive sweet and fruity aroma. In a study of flavour volatiles in five jackfruit cultivars, the main volatile compounds detected were ethyl isovalerate, propyl isovalerate, butyl isovalerate, isobutyl isovalerate, 3-methylbutyl acetate, 1-butanol, and 2-methylbutan-1-ol. A fully ripe and unopened jackfruit is known to “emit a strong aroma”, with the inside of the fruit described as smelling of pineapple and banana. After roasting, the seeds may be used as a commercial alternative to chocolate aroma.
The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous and is a source of dietary fiber. The pulp is composed of 74% water, 23% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and 1% fat. In a 100-g portion, raw jackfruit provides 400 kJ (95 kcal) and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin B6 (25% DV). It contains moderate levels (10-19% DV) of vitamin C and potassium, with no other nutrients in significant content.
The jackfruit also provides a potential part of the solution for tropical countries facing problems with food security, such as several countries of Africa.
The flavor of the ripe fruit is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. Varieties are distinguished according to characteristics of the fruit flesh. In Indochina, the two varieties are the “hard” version (crunchier, drier, and less sweet, but fleshier), and the “soft” version (softer, moister, and much sweeter, with a darker gold-color flesh than the hard variety). Unripe jackfruit has a mild flavor and meat-like texture and is used in curry dishes with spices in many cuisines. The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first, then the remaining jackfruit flesh is chopped in a labor-intensive process into edible portions and cooked before serving.
The cuisines of many Asian countries use cooked young jackfruit. In many cultures, jackfruit is boiled and used in curries as a staple food. The boiled young jackfruit is used in salads or as a vegetable in spicy curries and side dishes, and as fillings for cutlets and chops. It may be used by vegetarians as a substitute for meat such as pulled pork. It may be cooked with coconut milk and eaten alone or with meat, shrimp or smoked pork. In southern India, unripe jackfruit slices are deep-fried to make chips.