The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family (Moraceae). It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day Kerala, in Tamil Nadu (in Panruti), coastal Karnataka and Maharashtra. The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much as 80 pounds (36 kg) in weight, 36 inches (90 cm) in length, and 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Jackfruit is also found across Africa (e.g., in Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Mauritius), as well as throughout Brazil and in Caribbean nations such as Jamaica. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh.
Once in a while, hubby comes back from a visit to a farm with a bag of beans or a few BOXES full of bananas, both of which never go to waste as both are part of our almost-daily diet (plus, I’ve also learned to make bananada — banana spread). One day, he finally came home with a jaca (jackfruit). A fruit that I had long heard about, “a prehistorical looking fruit” would describe my husband, but as it is usually too big to eat at once (unless you have a dozen kids to feed at home, ha ha) I didn’t dare buy one at the feira (farmer’s market); Even if they do cut a piece for you, I didn’t know how much to ask for or how to choose the fruit. As it happens, I finally got to try one for FREE and it was a SMALL specimen !
I wish I could say “it taste just like chicken”, but, er, not really. It’s really very sweet and, as you can see in the video below, has a lot of fiber. The seeds are quite big so it’s easy to take off, but somewhat difficult to eat in a civilized manner ! I’ve read that there are some sweet or savory dishes with jack fruit in South East Asia. My in-laws told me too that I could prepare it as I do apple sauce without the adding any sugar. I had no idea and should look into it next time we get another one of these monsters! As it happens we ate a bit of it, but I didn’t know what to do with the rest of the fruit that went into containers in the fridge, then ended up as compost in the backyard…