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The Jackfruit: The Jack of All Fruits

Updated on August 21, 2009
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Dohn121 is a freelance writer who currently resides in the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains of New York's famed Hudson Valley.

Jackfruit was used to dye the robes of these Buddhist Monks
Jackfruit was used to dye the robes of these Buddhist Monks

Three-Fifths of a Royal Flush

Okay, so now I've completed the, "Trinity of Fruit," who rule the entire Fruit Kingdom of the World. Although not exactly known as "The Jack of All Fruits of the World," I'm giving it such a title because to me, it makes perfect sense as there is a "King" (Durian) and "Queen" (Mangosteen) of all Fruitdom! I hope that you agree, as the root word is implicitly, "Jack." Be sure to check out my other two imperial fruits: The Durian: King of All Fruits and The Mangosteen: Queen of All Fruits.

For the most part, westerners will find that the jackfruit is more agreeable to work with when the fruit is full-grown yet unripe and so has no real odor and is peeking in flavor. Jackfruit is very high in vitamin A, fiber and starch.  Most say that they prefer fried jackfruit over such fried favorites as breadfruit and plantains. Important to note is that when jackfruit is allowed to ripen, it would be wise to cut open and extract seeds from the jackfruit, as its odor rivals that of its “King,” the durian! In addition to being an edible fruit, you’ll find that it has many other uses. Please enjoy.

A Jackfruit Stand in Thailand
A Jackfruit Stand in Thailand

Click to enlarge

Cross-section of a Jackfruit
Cross-section of a Jackfruit
Delicious Jackfruit Curry
Delicious Jackfruit Curry
Jackfruit papadums from Bangalore, India
Jackfruit papadums from Bangalore, India
Jackfruit chips
Jackfruit chips
Jackfruit seeds. Courtesy of tastypalettes.com
Jackfruit seeds. Courtesy of tastypalettes.com
Jackfruit Shake: 5 pieces of pitted Jackfruit, 2 cups of milk, 5 tbsp of sugar, 2 tsp of honey; blend well..Courtesy. blogspot.com
Jackfruit Shake: 5 pieces of pitted Jackfruit, 2 cups of milk, 5 tbsp of sugar, 2 tsp of honey; blend well..Courtesy. blogspot.com
Jackfruit Tako. Courtesy of khiewchanta.com
Jackfruit Tako. Courtesy of khiewchanta.com
Jackfruit Pudding. Courtesy of khiewchanta.com
Jackfruit Pudding. Courtesy of khiewchanta.com

The Indelible, Edible Jackfruit

  • The jackfruit can be found in India, Burma, Ceylon, southern China, Malaya, and the East Indies
  • The jackfruit is mild to taste when it is unripe
  • In the Lao language, the jackfruit is called, mak mii
  • Its appearance is similar to the durian but is a lot larger
  • Due to the fact that jackfruit is an excellent substitute for meat, its bulbs are sometimes referred to as "vegetable meat"
  • There between 100 and 500 seeds in a single jackfruit
  • Jackfruit trees grow between 30 and 70 feet tall
  • Jackfruit can grow to be as 3 feet long and up to 20 inches wide
  • A single jackfruit can weigh up to 110 pounds!
  • The bulbs (meat) of the jackfruit can be enjoyed raw or cooked (with coconut milk or otherwise); or made into ice cream, chutney, jam, jelly, paste or can be canned in syrup (my favorite) with sugar or honey and citric acid.
  • The leaves of the jackfruit are used for wrapping in steamed Idlis
  • One of the most popular dishes in South East Asia is Jackfruit Curry
  • Papadums, which are made with jackfruit (similar to tortillas) are very popular in Goa and Mangalore India.
  • The more crisp types of jackfruit are usually reserved for canning
  • Canned jackfruit retains its quality for up to 63 weeks at room temperature
  • Frozen jackfruit keeps for at least 2 years
  • The fresh pulp of the jackfruit is sometimes called “vegetable meat.”
  • When jackfruit is boiled in milk and then cooled, the soluble reduction will then congeal and form a delicious custard
  • Ripe bulbs can be dried and then fried in oil and salted and can be eaten like potato chips.
  • Ripe bulbs, when fermented and distilled, producs a potent liquor
  • In Sri Lanka, jackifruit is smoked so it can be consumed when it is out of season
  • Jackfruit seeds can be boiled or fried and eaten and full of starches and natural fibers
  • Jackfruit seeds taste very much like chestnuts
  • Jackfruit seeds can also be canned in brine, curry, or tomato sauce
  • The seeds of a jackfruit are often included in curry dishes all around south Asia and South East Asia
  • It is believed that jackfruit is the basis for Juicy Fruits' chewing gum
  • The company Vitamin Water makes a jackfruit/guava drink with theanine and vitamin B
  • When the seeds of a jackfruit are roasted, they can be ground to make a flour which is blended with wheat flour for baking
  • Tender jackfruit leaves and young male flower clusters may be cooked and served as vegetables.

I found some really great Thai jackfruit dessert recipes to try:


A Healthy Jackfruit Tree
A Healthy Jackfruit Tree

Other Uses of Jackfruit (wood)

Jackfruit Wood

  • The wood from a Jackfruit tree or, Jackwood is termite-proof and so is an important source of timber in Ceylon.
  • Jackwood is also resistant to fungal and bacterial decay.
  • Jackwood is also commonly used for furniture, masts, oars, brush backs, and even musical instruments
  • Its strength is 75 to 80% that of tea wood.
  • Jackwood was used to build palaces in Bali and Macassar
  • Due to limited supplies of Jackwood, it was considered sacred and so was reserved for building temples in Indochina.
  • The branches of a Jackfruit tree is also used to produce fire by friction in religious ceremonies in Malabar
  • When the sawdust of Jackwood is boiled along with alum, a rich yellow dye is created, which is then commonly used for dyeing silk and the robes of Buddhist monks (See picture above).
  • The roots of old Jackfruit trees are coveted for carving and picture framing.

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