Jackfruit is a fruit to be reckoned with. Did you know that the jackfruit is considered the largest tree fruit in the world! It can grow to enormous sizes, measuring between 10 and 60 cm in length, 25 to 75 cm in diameter, with an average weight of 3.5 to 10 kg and sometimes a fruit may reach up to 25 kg. But it’s not the fruit’s size that makes it so amazing, it’s the nutrition. Jackfruit is high in magnesium, vitamin B6 and antioxidants all while offering a low-carb snack or even the perfect vegan “pulled-pork” sandwich.
Jackfruit is an ancient fruit that is widely consumed as a fresh fruit. The use of jackfruit bulbs and its parts has also been reported since ancient times for their therapeutic qualities. Jackfruit originated from the rainforests of India’s Western Ghats and spread to other parts of the country, the East Indies and Southeast Asia. The jackfruit has played a significant role in Indian agriculture for centuries. Archeological findings in India have revealed that jackfruit was cultivated in India 3000 to 6000 years ago. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh and the state fruit of the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The seeds and pulp of the jackfruit are considered as a cooling food as well as a nutritious tonic.
Most jackfruit trees can bear as many as 250 large fruits every season. The tree is used as timber as well. There are two main varieties of jackfruits: one is small, fibrous, soft, and mushy, and the carpels are sweet, with a texture like that of a raw oyster; the other variety is crisp and crunchy, but not very sweet.
The jackfruit is green when unripe, and then turns light brown and emits a strong aroma once it is ripe. It is round or oblong-shaped, and has an outer surface that is covered with blunt thorn-like projections that soften as the fruit ripens. Inside each fruit are hundreds of small, succulent yellow lobes which encompass a large seed. These seeds are also edible. The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous and is a source of dietary fibre. The flavour is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. After roasting, the seeds may be used as a commercial alternative to chocolate aroma.
The cuisines of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam use cooked young jackfruit. However, both the ripe and unripe fruit is used in cooking, as are the seeds. In many cultures, jackfruit is boiled and used in curries as a staple food. For making the traditional breakfast dish in southern India, idlis, the fruit is used with rice as an ingredient and jackfruit leaves are used as a wrapping for steaming. In southern India, unripe jackfruit slices are deep fried to make chips.; it is also used to make achar (pickled vegetables). Jackfruit dosas can be prepared by grinding jackfruit flesh along with the batter. In Indonesia and the Philippines, young jackfruit is cooked with coconut milk. In northern Thailand, the boiled young jackfruit is used in the Thai salad called tam kanun. In West Bengal, where the Bengal word for the fruit translates as "tree mutton" or "the meat which grows on a tree" use the unripe green jackfruit as a vegetable or meat substitute to make various spicy curries and side dishes and as fillings for cutlets and chops. It is especially sought-after by vegans and vegetarians who substitute this for meat. After about one hour of cooking, the fresh unripened jackfruit starts to resemble the flavour and mouth-feel of pulled pork.
Jackfruit is an excellent source of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. The health benefits of jackfruit have been attributed to its wide range of physicochemical applications. Jackfruit contains 38% carbohydrates, 6.6% proteins and 0.4g fat, plus vitamins A, C and B, calcium, zinc, and phosphorous. The jackfruit also contains sucrose, fatty acids, and amino acids like arginine, cystine, histidine, leucine, lysine, metheonine, theonine, tryptophan, and others.
With its nutritious content, jackfruit offers health benefits for a whole array of conditions:
w Jackfruit is abundant with potassium and it is said to be useful in decreasing blood pressure and reversing the effects of sodium that causes a rise in blood pressure that affects the heart and blood vessels. This helps in preventing heart disease and strokes.
w It also contains vitamin B6 which helps reduce homocysteine levels in the blood thus lowering the risk of heart disease.
w Jackfruit also contains iron (0.5 mg/100 g), which helps to prevent anaemia and also helps in proper blood circulation.
w Potassium also helps in preventing bone loss and improves muscle and nerve function. It contains 303 mg potassium per 100 g of jackfruit.
w Jackfruit is rich in magnesium (27 mg/100 g in young fruit and 54 mg/100 g in seed). It is a nutrient important in the absorption of calcium and works with calcium to help strengthen the bone and prevents bone-related disorders such as osteoporosis plus it reduces the risk of magnesium deficiency which many women are facing nowadays.
w Jackfruit also contains niacin or vitamin B3 and necessary for energy metabolism, nerve function, and the synthesis of certain hormones. A portion of 100 g of jackfruit pulp provides 4 mg niacin. The recommended daily amount for niacin is 16 mg for males and 14 mg for females.
w Jackfruit contains copper (10.45 mg/kg) which plays an important role in thyroid gland metabolism, especially in hormone production and absorption.
w Roasted jackfruit seeds are regarded as an aphrodisiac.
w Jackfruit turns out to be an excellent way to obtain vitamin C that is recognized for its substantial antioxidant properties. Vitamin C content (12 to 14 mg per 100 g) protects the body against free radicals, strengthens the immune system, and keeps our gums healthy.
w Their seeds contain two lectins, namely jacalin and artocarpin. Jacalin has been proved to be good antibacterial agent thus the seeds may therefore be developed into therapeutic agents capable of treating infectious diseases and preventing food contamination by food-borne pathogens such as E. Coli.
Degenerative Diseases and Cancer
w The jackfruit contains many carotenoids which are important for the prevention of several chronic degenerative diseases, such as cancer, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cataract, age-related macular degeneration.
w Jackfruit has phyto-nutrients such as lignans, isoflavones and saponins which have anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive and anti-ulcer properties. These nutrients can prevent forming of cancer cells in the body, can lower blood pressure and can fight against stomach ulcers.
w Jackfruit is said to be good for individuals experiencing indigestion. It is a known laxative with a high fibre content (3.6 g/100 g), thus useful in preventing constipation and producing smooth bowel movements. It also offers protection to the colon mucous membrane by removing carcinogenic chemicals from the large intestine.
w The seeds starch is believed to be useful in relieving indigestion and excessive flatulence.
w The seeds stimulate the growth and activity of ‘good’ bacteria in the digestive system that improves its intestinal microbial balance.
w Jackfruit is gluten-free and casein-free, thus offering systemic anti-inflammatory benefits to skin. It contains antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids which are vital to the production of collagen, a protein that provides skin with structure and gives it its firmness and strength.
w With anti-aging benefits, the jackfruit may slow down the degeneration of cells that make the skin look young.
Other parts of the jackfruit, including the root, leaves, fruit, and latex, have shown to exhibit a broad spectrum of health benefits:
w The jackfruit root has been discovered to be good for those being affected by asthma by boiling the root of the jackfruit and extracting and consuming it.
w The root of the jackfruit tree or jackfruit root extract forms the remedy for skin diseases, fever, and diarrhoea.
w The leaves of the jackfruit tree are useful for curing fever, boils, and skin diseases. When heated, they prove useful in wound healing.
w To heal ulcers, the ash of jackfruit leaves is used when burnt with corn and coconut shells and used either alone or mixed with coconut oil.
w Jackfruit leaves may improve glucose tolerance in normal and type 2 diabetes patients.
w The latex of the fruit is helpful in treating dysopia, ophthalmic problems, and pharyngitis.
w The latex can also be mixed with vinegar to heal abscesses, snakebites, and glandular swellings.
NOTE: Caution is advised in patients taking antibiotics due to possible additive effects. Also, jackfruit seeds may increase the risk of bleeding when taking with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anti-coagulants or “blood thinners” such as warfarin or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
Recipes for Health
RIPE FRUIT IDEAS
w Ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet, thus, it can be used to make a variety of dishes, including custards, cakes.
w Ripe jackfruit bulb are sometimes seeded, fried, or freeze-dried and sold as jackfruit chips.
w Ripe fruits can be eaten raw, or cooked in creamy coconut milk as dessert, made into candied jackfruit or edible jackfruit leather. In India, the seeds are boiled in sugar and eaten as dessert.
w Pureed jackfruit is also manufactured into baby food, juice, jam, jelly, and base for cordials.
w Jackfruits are made into candies, fruit-rolls, marmalades, and ice cream.
UNRIPE FRUIT IDEAS
w Because unripe jackfruit has a meat-like taste, it is used in curry dishes with spices in many eastern cuisines.
w The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first; then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving.
w Young jackfruit has a mild flavour and distinctive meat-like texture and is compared to poultry.
w The seeds from ripe fruits are said to have a milky, sweet taste often compared to Brazil nuts. They may be boiled, baked, or roasted.
w When roasted, the flavour of the seeds is comparable to chestnuts.
w Seeds are used as snacks (either by boiling or fire roasting) or to make desserts.
w They are quite commonly used in curry in Indian traditional lentil and vegetable mix curry.
w Roasted, dried seeds are ground to make flour that is blended with wheat flour for baking.
w 500 grams fresh jackfruit
w 2 medium tomatoes pureed
w 1 tsp. virgin coconut oil
w ½ tsp. cumin seeds
w ½ tsp. mustard seeds
w ½ tsp. nigella seeds
w 2 bay leaves
w 2 dried red chili peppers
w 1 small onion (chopped)
w 1 inch ginger (chopped)
w 1 tsp. coriander powder
w ½ tsp. turmeric
w ¼ tsp. black pepper
w ½ to ¾ tsp. Himalayan salt
w 1 to 1.5 cups of water
1. Heat extra virgin coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin, nigella and mustard seeds and let them sizzle for about a minute. Add the bay leaves and red chilli peppers, and then cook for several seconds. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and just a pinch of Himalayan salt. Cook until translucent (5-6 minutes) and remember to mix occasionally.
2. Add the turmeric, coriander and black pepper, mixing well. Stir while adding the pureed tomato, jackfruit and the rest of the salt. Cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes.
3. Uncover and cook for another few minutes to make the tomato puree thicker. The jackfruit can also be shredded.
4. Add the water and then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the flavour accordingly, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an extra 10 minutes or longer, until your desired consistency is achieved. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Follow this link for some amazing vegan jackfruit recipes: http://www.veganfoodandliving.com/16-mouth-watering-vegan-jackfruit-recipes/
To Sum Up…
Jackfruit has been steadily gaining international attention as a tree that is easily grown and is drought-resistant, with very nutritious fruit that happens to bear a striking resemblance to meat when cooked. The large yield of fruit that this tree produces could open the opportunity of providing a potential solution to countries facing problems with food security. Every part of this native Southeast Asian tree can be used, from its root to its leaves.
In recent times, the consumption of jackfruit has also grown in the developed countries, mainly due to its reported health benefits. Jackfruit and its pulp and seeds are rich sources of several beneficial compounds which have proven to protect against and alleviate many conditions, such as stomach ulcers and cardiovascular disease. Recent studies in its role at preventing the development of certain cancers has been promising and there are many areas that are still untapped by this amazing fruit. This fruit has aroused the interest of the vegan and vegetarian community who are always looking for ways of incorporating more protein into their diet, plus the added benefit of passing for chicken or pulled pork when cooked.
If you haven’t already tried this fruit be sure to try it. With its versatility in dishes, from sweet to savoury to meaty - it’s very hard not to. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. A very good way to incorporate more fibre into your diet, without compromising on the meat-like taste, which so many of us are now accustomed to. Many Asian stores sell either the tinned varieties or the fresh fruit itself. This unusually large fruit has earned itself a very unique position in the fruit family. The “meat that grows on trees” has only just begun to reveal its awesomeness.