Jackfruit is known in numerous Asian countries, but in India it is loved most of all. It is used in many Indian cuisines, but you’ll find that in the South people are particularly fond of this fleshy vegetable/fruit. Yep, the Malayalam term ‘chakka’, which later inspired the Portuguese name ‘jaca’ stands for both fruits and vegetables. And that’s exactly what jackfruit is! It goes through a transformation that might seem like magic to some, turning from a fleshy vegetable with eatable seeds into a sweet flavorful fruit. What’s not to like? Here are 9 facts you need to know about the lip-smacking jackfruit.
It’s been cultivated in India for over 5,000 years. That’s right! India and Sri Lanka have known about the wonders of jackfruit for thousands of years, enjoying its many health benefits and various dishes that can be made with its flesh and seeds, ripe or raw.
Kerala is a state in India famous for it’s jackfruit passion. There you’ll find sweet halwa, jams, chips, curries, and even ice cream prepared from this wonderful fruit. One restaurant serves more than 40 dishes prepared with and from jackfruit! Cakes, milkshakes, coffee, pickles, barfis, and samosas just to name a few.
In Karnataka people believe that no part of jackfruit should be wasted. The spiky skin of the fruit goes to cattle, while the bark of a tree is used in house building. It’s very sturdy and can withstand harsh monsoon rains.
While South of India is crazy about the ripe and sweet version of the fruit, in the North all the hype swirls around the raw jackfruit that is used to create all kinds of yummies from pickles and curries to savory side-dishes made from jackfruit’s seeds.
Peeling and cleaning a raw jackfruit is no easy task, but it’s so much better than buying any pre-made product in the market! Once you make your way through the spiky exterior, you’ll meet the incredibly sticky gooey substance inside similar to that of actual glue. The only way to cope with it is by using oil! No part of jackfruit should be wasted – everything inside is edible and tastes amazing when cooked.
Jackfruit is a real nutritional wonder. It’s packed with everything: potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, dietary fiber, vitamins A, B, C, as well as iron, calcium, zinc and a variety of antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein.
What’s even more important is the high level of protein jackfruit contains. It is literally a protein bomb waiting to boost your energy levels! This makes jackfruit a perfect ingredient for vegans and vegetarians, and make no mistake – the whole world is already buzzing about the great potential of jackfruit!
Jackfruit’s antioxidants will make your skin young, healthy, and glowing, while dietary fiber will reduce constipation and improve your digestion in general. It will boost your metabolism, too! Low-calorie content and high nutritional value make this fruit a perfect weight-loss remedy and a great addition to any diet.
Jackfruit grows in abundance – one jackfruit tree can give up to 200 fruits a year! And they are not small in size or weight – an average fruit weighs around 35 kg, but they can grow much more than that. It is mostly wild-growing and you won’t find many people cultivating it. Most families just have a tree in their backyard and enjoy the yumminess themselves.