Jackfruit is the largest fruit in the world that grows on a tree. It reaches a weight of up to 45 kg. Interestingly, fruit is increasingly used as a meat substitute in vegan cuisine. It can be eaten sweet or in savory dishes .
Jackfruit is often referred to as “food for the poor” because it grows in areas where famine is common .
Jackfruit consists of the skin, casing, seeds, bulbs, and core. Fresh fruit has a sweet taste. It tastes like a combination of banana with mango or pineapple. Ripe fruit can be eaten raw as an addition to salads or cocktails. In turn, jackfruit can be used for savory dishes as a substitute for meat in vegetarian or vegan dishes. The canned fruit has a fleshy texture and may taste like chicken. This version has a neutral taste, so it can be eaten after proper seasoning in many ways.
Interestingly, the jackfruit tree can be grown from seed. Before planting in the ground, it is good to soak such a seed for a day. In our climate, there is no chance of a jackfruit tree growing outside. It needs a minimum temperature of 15 degrees Celsius in winter. Therefore, heated greenhouses or conservatories may come into play. However, it must be considered that the tree in natural conditions grows up to 10 – 20 meters in height. Therefore, it requires a lot of space. And as mentioned earlier, the fruit weighs up to 45 kg.
The history and origin of jackfruit
Jackfruit comes from India and is commonly found in Asia, Africa, and parts of South America .
It has been eaten in Sri Lanka since ancient times. Because it is an off-season fruit, it has historically contributed to famine relief. It provided food for people and livestock when basic cereals were scarce. That is why it is referred to as food for the poor . The jackfruit tree grows in warm and humid regions .
An interesting fact is that jackfruit has been cultivated in China for over 1000 years. However, the history of its introduction to the country remains unclear .
Nutritional values of jackfruit
Nutrient Content in 100 g of fruit
- Energy 95 kcal
- Water 73.5g
- Protein 1.72g
- Fats 0.64 g
- Ash 0.94 g
- Carbohydrates 23.2g
- Fiber 1.5g
- Sugars 19.1 g
- sucrose 0.42 g
- Glucose 9.48 g
- Fructose 9.19 g
- Starch 1.47 g
- Calcium 24 mg
- Iron 0.23mg
- Magnesium 29mg
- Phosphorus 21mg
- Potassium 448 mg
- Sodium 2 mg
- Zinc 0.13mg
- Copper 0.076mg
- Manganese 0.043mg
- Vitamin C 13.7mg
- Thiamine 0.105mg
- Riboflavin 0.055 mg
- Niacin 0.92mg
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B 5) 0.235 mg
- Vit. B6 0.329mg
- Total folic acid 24 µg
- Vit. A 5 µg
- Vitamin A, IU 110 IU
- Saturated fatty acids 0.195 g
- Monounsaturated fatty acids 0.155 g
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids 0.094 g
Source: USDA U.S. Departament of Agriculture, Food Data Central .
The use of jackfruit in industry and its impact on the environment
Cultivation of jackfruit and its use in the industry poses some problems. This is due to:
- Short shelf life and rapid spoilage.
- The size and the fact that as much as 60% of the whole fruit are inedible parts.
- Insufficient processing facilities in the regions where it is grown and harvested.
- The need to export the entire fruit. This, combined with 60% waste, makes the full process unprofitable.
- Irregular shape and size, make it difficult to pack.
- Problematic, peeling jackfruit is complex and requires a lot of strength due to its size.
- Difficulty in separating the inside of the fruit from the skin.
- All this makes importing this fruit costly.
In addition, when peeling jackfruit, a huge amount of agricultural waste is generated. These wastes are the skin, the center axis, and the seeds and perianth. These residues are mostly inedible and rarely used for other uses (other than animal feed). Unfortunately, this has a negative impact on the environment. Resulting in serious problems with the disposal of agricultural waste generated in this way . Scientists are constantly trying to reuse as much of the jackfruit residue as possible. Unfortunately, the countries where this fruit is grown are mostly poor countries. Therefore, no spectacular successes in this field have been recorded so far.
Due to the growing consumer interest in jackfruit, scientists are exploring the possibilities of a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to managing the waste generated during jackfruit peeling. As well as new applications for generated waste . Mainly animal feed, perianth meal for bakery purposes can be mentioned here. There are attempts to produce an oil rich in essential fatty acids from jackfruit seeds .
Jackfruit is a potassium-rich fruit. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure and is also a sodium antagonist. Sodium has the effect of increasing blood pressure. This, in turn, can help prevent heart disease and strokes. Vitamin B6 present in jackfruit helps to reduce the level of homocysteine in the blood. Which, in turn, reduces the risk of heart disease .
Jackfruit is also a rich source of vitamin C. This vitamin protects our skin from damage caused by the natural aging process. It also protects the skin from the effects of prolonged exposure to the sun. It is also essential for the production of collagen. Collagen gives firmness and elasticity to our skin and maintains oral health . Remember, however, that vitamin C is very sensitive to oxygen and high temperatures. We record high losses of this vitamin during processing. Because in Poland, we can rarely buy fresh jackfruit, the amount of vitamin C in its preserves will be significantly limited.
Jackfruit is packed with important micronutrients. It is rich in magnesium, which is significant for calcium absorption and strengthening bones and preventing osteoporosis. The iron in jackfruit helps prevent anemia and promotes proper blood circulation. However, it is in the non-heme form, which is less absorbable. Copper content plays an essential role in thyroid metabolism .
Research shows that all the phytonutrients in jackfruit bulbs have anti-cancer properties. Their main role is to prevent the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals have an impact on the development of cancer and many chronic diseases .
Phytonutrients prevent the very early stage of cancer cell formation. The saponins that are found in jackfruit are also powerful anti-cancer agents. According to research, saponins show properties that prevent colon cancer. These phytonutrients have been found to induce mitotic arrest in leukemic cells. Studies have also shown that in some cases it helped achieve remission of the disease. This is because saponins react with the outer layers of cancer cells .
Two important groups of phytoestrogens present in jackfruit pulp are isoflavones and lignans. According to studies, these nutrients help reduce the risk of endometrial cancer .
Researchers in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effect of replacing 30 g of rice or wheat flour with the same amount of green flour as fruit in patients with type 2 diabetes. Green jackfruit flour is breadfruit seed flour. As a result, it was observed that the consumption of jackfruit flour effectively reduces the level of glycated hemoglobin, fasting glucose, and postprandial glycemia compared to rice or wheat flour. Glycemic monitoring showed a decrease in the average blood glucose concentration within 7 days of administration of jackfruit flour .
Beneficial effect on the digestive system
Jackfruit is rich in fiber. Exceptional stickiness also characterizes this fruit. Both of these properties help in the proper functioning of the intestines. Fiber is involved in the removal of toxins from the digestive tract. The listed properties of jackfruit reduce the occurrence of colon cancer .
The high fiber content also ensures regular bowel movements and prevents constipation .
How to buy jackfruit in Poland?
Jackfruit is not a very popular fruit in Poland. In its fresh form, it can be ordered in online stores, but then the price is high, about PLN 140 per 1 kg! On store shelves, it can be mainly purchased in cans in brine or syrup. A dried form is also available. There are also ready-made dishes with this fruit on the market, e.g., Thai red curry with jackfruit.
In areas where jackfruit is available, there are many ways to consume it. One is to eat it as an immature vegetable. Another in salted form as silage. And also as ripe fruit.
Jackfruit pulp can also be used in various ways. You can eat it raw, or canned. Prepare jams and chutneys from it, as well as dry .
In Poland, jackfruit can be used to prepare, for example, vegan nuggets.
In restaurants, you can order dishes with jackfruit in the main role. Vegan burgers with jackfruit as a meat substitute are available. Other options are salads with the addition of this fruit or curries. You can also try pancakes with pulled jackfruit as a substitute for pulled beef.
Jackfruit is an exotic fruit with an interesting history. It is rich in vitamins and minerals. So far, its potential is not fully used. This is mainly due to the difficulties in transporting it. The management of the waste that remains after peeling it plays a big role. It is an intriguing alternative to the vegan and vegetarian diet. Due to its health-promoting properties, it appears that it should be consumed more often. In Poland, however, this is hampered by its limited availability and price.
When going on a trip to Asia, it is worth remembering about this fruit. It’s worth tasting its fresh version.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Fresh jackfruit has a sweet taste. It tastes like a combination of banana with mango or pineapple.
Ripe fruit can be eaten raw as an addition to salads or cocktails. Jackfruit can be used in savory dishes as a substitute for meat in vegetarian or vegan dishes.
Canned jackfruit has a fleshy texture and tastes slightly reminiscent of chicken. It has a neutral taste, so it can be eaten in many ways after proper seasoning.
Jackfruit is rich in vitamins such as: C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, A, folic acid. And also minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, copper, and manganese. Contains health-promoting phytonutrients. It is a good source of fiber.
In Poland, we can buy jackfruit in a dried company. It can be eaten raw as a snack. The unsweetened form can be used for savory dishes, after being poured with hot water.
Dried jackfruit, dried apricots, raisins, dried cranberries pour 2.5 cups of boiling water.
Set aside for 15 minutes.
Pour dried fruit with water into the pot, add half a can of coconut milk.
Season with salt, pepper, curry and turmeric.
Stew everything over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Top up water if necessary.
Eat with cooked jasmine rice.
Jackfruit and durian are relatively similar to each other. They can be distinguished by the fact that jackfruit has a rough skin and durian is prickly. In addition, durian is smaller, reaching 1/3 the size of a jackfruit. The taste of ripe apple fruit is sweet and crunchy, while durian is a combination of sweetness and spice. There is one element thanks to which we will not be mistaken which fruit we eat: the smell. Durian has a very intense and unpleasant smell. It is often compared to spoiled meat or dirty socks. For this reason, its consumption is prohibited in many public places.
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- Rao, A.G., Naik, K.S., Unnikrishnan, A.G. et al. Efficacy of green jackfruit flour as a medical nutrition therapy replacing rice or wheat in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutr. Diabetes 11, 18 (2021).
- F. Akter and M. A. Haque. Jackfruit waste: A promising source of food and feed. Ann. Bangladesh Agric. (2019) 23(1): 91-102, ISSN 2521-5477.