I had read about this fruit, but never encountered it before. I knew they were big, but not this big -- we got a half slice which suggests the whole diameter nearly that of a dinner plate. Apparently they can grow up to 100 pounds. *drool, slobber* Think watermelon rather than papaya size. Harvest Market was selling these slices for $1.99 / pound, which is ridiculously cheap for something that is A) tropical, B) good for you, and C) incredibly delicious. I am totally buying more of this if they still have it when I go back there.
The enormous fruit sprouts from the trunk of an enormous tree. They can be eaten green or ripe, in different ways. The outside is bumpy-prickly, turning from green to black when ripe. The seeds can be roasted and eaten. When ripe, the pulp is bright yellow, tender, a little chewy. The taste is similar to pineapple but with a mango flavor and a very creamy character a little like banana. Just fabulous. The smell is amazing, intensely tropical -- it filled several rooms, tropical fruity but with pronounced floral and spicy notes that pineapple lacks. When I looked up references, they all mention a disgusting odor that discourages people from eating it, variously said to be on the outside or also on the inside. I have no idea why, this one was utterly luscious, like I'm wondering if there is jackfruit body lotion. Maybe they don't all smell the same. Normally I am very put off by garbagey odors, so I am pretty sure I'd notice, and my partner Doug found it appealing too. Go figure. If you like pineapple and/or mango, you will probably love jackfruit.
As ours came in a big slice, I thought it would make sense to cut it. First I picked out the big seeds and their brown sleeves. There was a large woody core, which I cut out first. Then I noticed that the pulp was coming apart, so instead of cutting it off the rind, I started pulling at it to see how it's made. Turns out, jackfruit is so damn big you can see all the botanical anatomy really clearly; if that interests you, buy a slice to dissect. Anyhow, pulling at it revealed that it comes apart quite easily into firm little sections, separated by fibrous white stuff. So I just peeled out the sections with my fingers. Some of these are little cups ideal for stuffing; it depends on how you slice the thing whether you get partial cups or whole ones. The juice turns to glue as it dries, though. Here are instructions for preparing jackfruit.
Jackfruit is delicious when eaten fresh. If you like things which are tender and chewy, just eat it like that. Green jackfruit is apparently barbecued as a substitute for pulled pork, or put in gyros. Ripe jackfruit softens when cooked so if you're not into chewy things, that's one option. I am rather inclined to try chopping ripe jackfruit into pulled pork, much as I would do with pineapple. It can also be pureed for use in smoothies. Here's one with coconut milk and one with yogurt. This one adds mango and papaya. I am already planning to puree some and substitute it into my recipe for mango ice cream. I found this pudding recipe that I may tweak and try. This oat pudding is too complicated for me to try at home, but I would sure as hell buy it. I found one for bread pudding. I'll probably do something different -- I think we've got some frozen challah -- but jackfruit bread pudding, oh hell yes. Here is a batch of savory jackfruit recipes.
I love this fruit. :D 3q 3q 3q It is like what pineapple is trying to be. I do like pineapple, but I think the next one I eat will be frustrated by me comparing it to jackfruit.