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Jackfruit is the name of both a fruit and the tree it grows on. The fruit grows on the branches and trunks of trees that can reach up to 20 meters tall. Initially, the jackfruit starts as small flowering pods on the end of straight green stalks. As the fruit matures and enlarges, the flowers fall away, revealing hundreds of small, hard, cone-shaped protrusions. At full maturity, the fruit can be as long as 80 centimeters, as wide as 50 centimeters, and weigh anywhere from 10 to 50 pounds.?The rind of the jackfruit changes color from bright green to a dull yellow as it ripens and may develop dark patches. The fully ripe fruit falls from the tree, so it is often harvested early to avoid any potential injury from the large fruit falling on anyone. Inside of the fruit, just beneath the rind, are the bright yellow, edible bulbs that make up the majority of the fruit's flesh. The bulbs are 5 to 7 centimeters long, triangular in shape, and connected to the rind by a pithy core that runs down the length of the fruit.?Jackfruit has 100 to 500 edible, brown seeds that are housed within the fruit. The seeds are covered by a thin white membrane, which can be removed when the seeds are being prepared for roasting. A mature jackfruit has an aroma that has been described as off-putting, similar to overripe fruit, whereas younger fruit has a sweeter aroma. The taste of jackfruit is sweet and reminiscent of bananas, pineapple, and even bubblegum. As the fruit matures, the bulbs become a darker orange-yellow, and the taste gets even sweeter.
Jackfruits are cut in half lengthwise, exposing the soft pulp surrounding the seeds. Using coconut oil on the knife and hands can prevent them from being coated in the latex present in the rind and pith. Using a long knife, cut from the stem lengthwise, horizontally, much like a watermelon. Once the Jackfruit has been halved, the bulbs can be removed and deseed. The Jackfruit bulbs can be eaten fresh, frozen, cooked, or pureed. Younger Jackfruit is added to curries and can be roasted or baked and eaten as a vegetable. It is often shredded and used as a meat substitute. Riper Jackfruit bulbs are added to salads. Make jam or ice cream from pureed bulbs. Boiling Jackfruit bulbs in milk and then straining off the liquid will result in a custard-like consistency once it has cooled. Jackfruit can be dried and then fried in oil, salted, and eaten like potato chips. Jackfruit seeds can be roasted and eaten like chestnuts or dried and ground into flour.
Jackfruit does not keep well once it is ripe. Unused portions of prepared fruit can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for a few weeks.
Tropical Jackfruit Smoothie
7 pieces jackfruit
1/4 cup frozen banana (sliced)
1/2 cup frozen mango (chunks)
1/2 cup coconut milk (well shaken canned)
1/3 cup pineapple juice