When is jackfruit ripe?

Signs that a jackfruit is ripe and ready to eat

If you’re a fan of the international market, you may have already heard of jackfruit. It is the largest tree-born fruit in the world and has been popular in Southeast Asia for centuries. When first introduced to the U.S., this spiky fruit only came in cans, but now the actual fruit, which has been known to grow up to 100 pounds, is slowly gaining popularity and making its way into grocery stores like Whole Foods (via HuffPost).

Jackfruit has become a popular meat substitute as it soaks up flavorings while cooking to take on a meat-like texture. Think pulled pork or shredded chicken and you’re on the right track. There’s no need to eliminate your favorite mouthwatering meat recipes completely when jackfruit offers a tasty alternative.

Now you’re ready to expand your vegetarian recipe list, but before heading to the store it’s important to know that not just any jackfruit will do. Just like when searching for the sweetest watermelon or perfectly picked dragon fruit, one should look for very specific things when it comes to picking your delicious and ripe jackfruit. First and foremost, if a jackfruit’s skin is green, keeping looking. A ripe jackfruit will have a yellowish skin tone. When you pick it, give it a little squeeze, but not too hard. The spikes that give a jackfruit its rough texture should be soft to the touch, and the fruit should give a little to gentle pressure (via The Washington Post).

Next, inhale. A ripe jackfruit cannot be missed this way. It will have a very powerful and distinct musky fragrance, which means sweet and juicy flesh is waiting inside the skin. Once you get your ripe jackfruit home, you’ll be eager to start experimenting, but don’t forget this very important step before cutting in. You’ll need to oil your hands and the knife before cutting in as jackfruit is very sticky and otherwise impossible to handle.

Even though jackfruit may not taste just like chicken, you can still get creative with your favorite meatless recipes and not feel like you’re missing out. It may even be fun to slide it into recipes for your friends and see if they notice the difference.

Grocery Shopping Guide: How to Buy and Store Jackfruit (Kathal)

Jackfruit is one such ingredient, which you need to develop a taste for, especially if we are talking about the ripe fruit. Some dislike it for its smell, which can be sensed from miles away, but a few love it for its juicy flesh, which when bitten into, imparts a sweet flavour. While the king of fruits – Mango – is most popular during the summer months, jackfruit too doesn’t lag behind in terms of attracting its fans to come and indulge.

The tropical fruit is a great energy booster. Moreover, it is loaded with essential minerals (potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron), vitamins (A, B and C), dietary fiber and antioxidants which collectively contribute to keep your heart healthy, maintain blood pressure and help you beat the heat.

In India, this fruit-cum-vegetable is readily available in the market during summers. The raw variant is popularly used as a vegetarian meat to make delectable dishes like Kathal Biryani, kebabs, koftas and subzis. Its fibrous texture, similar to that of meat, when cooked with aromatic spices, transforms the humble ingredient into something incredibly delightful. The raw jackfruit on the other hand, is best enjoyed on its own. Or you can also blend it to make smoothies or use it to top off sticky rice puddings and other desserts.

How to Buy Jackfruit

Buying a jackfruit is not always an easy task because of the sheer size of it. It is one of the largest fruits, which has a spiky exterior that encloses the fleshy fruit pods inside. This is also the reason why most supermarkets pre-cut and package it into set grams to make it easier for purchase. If you are picking the raw type, make sure the pieces are not blackened and look soft and tender. If you are picking the ripe fruit, the flesh should be vibrant yellow, without any dark patches.

For those who would prefer to pick the whole fruit, a point to note is to select one that imparts a strong smell. That’s an indication that it is ripe and you can relish the juicy flesh inside. But remember, when you are about to cut it open, oil the knife and your hands really well because it contains an extremely sticky substance inside which is difficult to handle otherwise. Usually, the jackfruit is split vertically into two and then worked upon with a knife to extract the pods.


CommentsHow to Store

The cut fruit should be stored in the refrigerator, and can be kept for up to five to six days. You can also wrap up the pieces and keep them in the freezer for up to one month. But the flavour is best enjoyed when eaten as fresh as possible.

To my surprise, the grocery store I frequent started selling Jackfruit. Apparently because I had not been to the grocery store in weeks, I didn’t realize the store had been selling them for weeks now.
Of course once I saw the sign for the jackfruit, I was disappointed to see there were no jackfruits on display. James asked if they had any in storage, and luckily they did. We spent $19 for a jackfruit which I accidently opened too soon, so that I could say I tried my first jackfruit.
Two days after taking it home, I started noticing the signs of ripeness/maturity–the yellowing and bruising of the skin, pleasant aroma, and soft to touch. As soon as I cut the jackfruit in half, I realized the fruit pods were hard–not as soft as you want to properly eat them. However, I could tell that the jackfruit was close to ripe because of the orange color of the fruit.
As an experiment to ripen the fruits, I took out every pod from the shell (including the seeds). Then stored all the pods into a container in the refrigerator. With the amount of jackfruit you want to eat, place the bunch into a glass pan with aluminum foil over top. Then, without turning on the oven, placing the pan of jackfruit on the bottom wrack of the oven. This will warm the jackfruit, encouraging the fruit to ripen quickly (turning into sugar content), and become soft (easy to digest).
I kept the jackfruit in the oven for up to 5 hours before I started eating a couple pieces; but mostly I kept a small batch in the oven all day (up to 8 hours) to ripen. This really worked for the most part–the taste it better and the fruit is softer. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Another tip: Lather your hands with coconut oil and also rub coconut oil (or any oil) on the knife you will be using. This prevents the latex of the jackfruit not to stick to your skin and the knife.
Maybe because it was eaten slightly immature, I didn’t favor the taste at first. As I am eating it now, it tastes slightly better. Some people say it tastes like juicy fruit gum, but I didn’t get that flavor. Really it doesn’t taste like anything I can compare it to.
I can see why the jackfruit was nearly $20, because I have been eating on this for days. It’s a massive fruit with lots of big pods. It is claimed to be the largest fruit in the world because the jackfruit commonly weighs over 20 pounds.
Then today, I spent another $20 on mulberries, dragon fruit, and goji berries–also so that I can say that I have tried them and to experience the taste of each fruit.
It’s a privilege to eat imported foods; then to think you’re taking away food from people of that country (most likely impoverished).
Original post @ My first Jackfruit & How to ripen if you prematurely cut open
-Cassie K, veganslivingofftheland.blogspot.com

Jackfruit Harvest Guide: How And When To Pick Jackfruit

Most probably originating in southwest India, jackfruit spread into Southeast Asia and on to tropical Africa. Today, harvesting jackfruit occurs in a variety of warm, humid regions including Hawaii and southern Florida. It is important to know exactly when to pick jackfruit for a number of reasons. If you start picking jackfruit too soon, you’ll get a sticky, latex covered fruit; if you start the jackfruit harvest too late, the fruit begins to deteriorate rapidly. Keep reading to find out how and when to harvest jackfruit properly.

When to Pick Jackfruit

Jackfruit was one of the earliest cultivated fruit and is still a staple crop for subsistence farmers in India to Southeast Asia where it is also used for timber and medicinal uses.

A large fruit, most comes into ripening in the summer and fall, although an occasional fruit may ripen during other months. Jackfruit harvest almost never happens during winter months and early spring. About 3-8 months after flowering, start checking the fruit for ripeness.

When the fruit is mature, it makes a dull hollow noise when tapped. Green fruit will have a solid sound and mature fruit a hollow sound. Also, the spines of the fruit are well developed and spaced and slightly soft. The fruit will emit an aromatic aroma and the last leaf of the peduncle will yellow when the fruit is mature.

Some cultivars change color from green to light green or yellowish-brown as they ripen, but color change is not a reliable indicator of ripeness.

How to Harvest Jackfruit

All parts of a jackfruit will ooze sticky latex. As the fruit ripens, the quantity of latex lessens, so the riper the fruit, the less of a mess. The fruit can also be allowed to leach out its latex prior to harvesting jackfruit. Make three shallow cuts in the fruit a few days before harvesting. This will allow the majority of the latex to ooze out.

Harvest the fruit with clippers or loppers or, if picking jackfruit that is high up on the tree, use a sickle. The cut stem will exude white, sticky latex that can stain clothing. Be sure to wear gloves and grungy work clothes. Wrap the cut end of the fruit in a paper towel or newspaper to handle it or just lay it to the side in a shaded area until the flow of the latex stops.

Mature fruit ripens in 3-10 days when stored at 75-80 F. (24-27 C.). Once the fruit is ripe, it will start to degrade rapidly. Refrigeration will slow the process and allow ripe fruit to be kept for 3-6 weeks.

Read this before you lug home that jackfruit

Fresh jackfruit at Whole Foods Market in Alexandria. The mid-Atlantic chain is selling whole fruit (at 20 pounds and up) and shrink-wrapped cut sections. (Robyn Webb)

Never eat anything bigger than your head: Such generally sound advice must be tossed out the window when it comes to jackfruit, the exotic produce that happens to be #trending with some confusion.

In the States, it was once available solely as a canned product in Asian markets, but now whole fresh specimens weighing 10 to 25 pounds are stacked like spiky green submarines in mainstream American grocery stores. The fruit’s sheer mass and forbidding exterior tend to ward off potential takers, but those who have tasted its innards are forever fans.

Things don’t get easier once you cut the fruit open. A milky, hard-to-remove sap is released with each cut. Jackfruit can contain varying amounts of sweet, yellow flesh pods embedded in a tough core, depending on the level of ripeness. And its hard, ecru-colored seeds evoke fat garlic cloves in shape and size — solid as rocks, yet once boiled and peeled, they are beloved for their potato-chestnut hybrid appeal.

Tasters at The Washington Post found notes of pear, pineapple, banana and papaya in the ripe fruit, commenting favorably on a texture they identified as having more body than mango and a satisfying moisture level (read: not too sticky or juicy).

“Jackfruit has been in America for decades, and it’s the biggest produce story over the past four months or so,” says Melissa’s Produce spokesman Robert Schueller. Three years ago, the nationwide distributor was selling a few cases per year. “Now we sell 250 cases per week,” he says. It has long been carried in Asian supermarkets (whole and in shrink-wrapped portions), where shoppers understand the beauty of slumping, less-than-perfect hulks.

Media buzz might be due to jackfruit’s growing status as a plant-based meat substitute, low in protein — a selling point for those avoiding high-protein foods — and rich in nutrients such as calcium and potassium. In 2014, an NPR report touted an initiative in India to promote jackfruit as an answer to solving food insecurity, as the fruit grows abundantly in tropical climates and offers versatility.

It took Chicago-based Upton’s Naturals about four years to source the right kind of jackfruit from Southeast Asia for its March 2015 product launch in flavors of Thai curry, barbecue and chili lime carnitas.

But how does jackfruit’s “Juicy Fruit gum” taste profile, as some call it, square with savory applications? It doesn’t.

“We use young, green, unripe jackfruit,” says Upton’s co-founder and vice president Nicole Sopko, “that hasn’t developed sweetness or seeds. People say its cooked texture is like that of shredded pork or poultry — and really, it’s been cooked for hundreds of years by different cultures in Southeast Asia.”

However, the heffalumps spotted recently on sale ($1.99 per pound) at Whole Foods Market on P Street NW, grown in Mexico, are already on their way to ripening sweet, says Nongkran Daks, a Chantilly, Va., restaurateur who grew up in her native Thailand with a jackfruit tree in the yard.

The jackfruit might be intimidating because of its size, but don’t be daunted. (Daron Taylor,Jayne Orenstein/The Washington Post)

“Don’t buy green here and expect to eat it right away,” she says. Buy ripe, which means looking for a yellowish skin with spikes that have softened, and a shape that yields under gentle pressure — not unlike the midsection of someone who needs core work at the gym. A sure sign of ripeness is the fruit’s distinctive, musky fragrance. Or buy green and firm, then let the fruit sit on the counter for several days until those telltale signs take over.

Daks prefers the quality and smaller size of jackfruit harvested in her country over what’s exported from Mexico. Mexican cooking show host and cookbook author Pati Jinich says the fruit is grown in her country but is hard to find in all but the most tropical regions, such as Campeche on the Yucatan Peninsula.

“You can’t really get it in Mexico City; I didn’t know it when I was growing up,” Jinich says. “Mexicans like it sweet. I’ve had it now in smoothie-type morning drinks called licuados and pureed, stirred into creamy gelatins or mousse-y desserts.” Another popular way to prepare jackfruit in Mexico is to cook it down past the compote stage so it’s effectively candied, she says — an ancient way of preserving lots of fruits there. Daks says that in Thailand, people like to eat chunks of jackfruit with sticky rice shoved into the empty seed holes. Filipino journalist and food blogger Betty Ann Besa-Quirino makes ice cream with sweet jackfruit and a dish of coconut cream and shrimp with the unripe fruit.

If you are curious enough to haul a whole jackfruit home, you should be able to find it just about year-round. Whole Foods’ mid-Atlantic region has carried it in some stores for the past three years. Melissa’s Produce features it in late September and October.

Figure on about three pounds of core/waste in every 20-pounder. Daks offers been-there advice about how to handle it:

■ Let a green head ripen on the counter; back home, she says, cooks sometimes hasten the process by removing the fruit’s stem and inserting a clean piece of wood in its place.

■ First, coat your gloved hands and a long, sharp knife with food-safe oil — cooking oil spray works well — to protect against that stubborn latex sap.

■ Cover the work surface with something disposable.

■ Cut the fruit in half lengthwise and then lengthwise again into quarters; the cut skin and core will release the sap. Re-grease the utensil after each cut.

■ Cut out the solid white core and discard any fibrous filaments around the fruit pods.

The flesh should be thick and yellow. It can be eaten and frozen raw; the seeds pop out with ease.

■ If you manage to find young green jackfruit, cut away and discard the peel, then cut into chunks; boil in water until tender.

“In Thailand, we use lots and lots of newspaper to wipe off the latex and for removing the core,” Daks laughs. “It’s the best reason to keep it around.”

Everything You Need to Know How to Cook Jackfruit Like a Boss

Jackfruit is one of those ingredients we eat all the time, but it’s rare to actually prepare it at home. You can get savory jackfruit in meal-ready pouches in the vegetarian section of the grocery store, and you can snack on canned jackfruit in syrup when your sweet tooth starts aching. If you really want to get a better understanding of this enormous, delicious tropical fruit, though, you should try preparing it at home. Jackfruit is eaten one of two ways, either in its savory, unripe green state, or its ripe, sweet state.

Unripe green jackfruit is known for taking on the texture of pulled pork when cooked. You can stew it until tender, then broil or pan-fry it so it gets scrumptious crispy bits. Ripe jackfruit is a juicy tropical fruit that has a flavor that’s a cross between pineapple, banana, and mango. However you decide to eat it, scroll on for our complete guide to buying, butchering, and preparing your jackfruit.

1. Choose the perfect Jackfruit

Purchasing a jackfruit at the store can be a little daunting — they’re enormous. They can grow to weigh up to a hundred pounds (!), though you’ll usually find ones quite a bit smaller than that at the store. At some Asian grocery stores you’ll see them cut into large chunks then packaged on styrofoam trays; if you have that option in your area, you should go for it, especially if it’s your first time working with jackfruit. It’s hard to find whole unripe jackfruit in stores, and even harder to prepare it. But if you’re determined, look for jackfruit with an evenly green color and not much of a scent. Ripe jackfruit should have a noticeable, musky fruit odor and a yellow-green skin. If it’s pre-cut, the fleshy pods within ripe jackfruit fruit should be an orangey-yellow color and rather soft to the touch, while unripe jackfruit will be pale with light green tones and less distinct pods. In the US, the pre-cut fruit is usually the sweet, ripe variety.

2. Prepare your workspace

Jackfruit is notorious for being filled with an extremely sticky latex sap that can ruin your counters and knife if you aren’t careful — and the sap is even worse if you’re working with unripe green jackfruit. Prepare your workspace by lining your counter and cutting board with plenty of newspaper. Have extra newspapers or paper towels handy for wiping up sap as it comes out of the fruit. Wear a pair of powder-free gloves, then oil them and your knife liberally with cooking spray or coconut oil. Sap will start oozing out of the fruit once you cut into it. Use the newspapers or paper towels to wipe away the sticky sap so it doesn’t drip down and get all over your kitchen. Make sure you re-oil your knife after each cut — if you don’t take this precaution, the sap can easily ruin the blade.

3. Begin the butchery

Ripe Jackfruit: Since jackfruit is so large, it’s helpful to cut it into smaller pieces before extracting the fruit. Cut it length-wise into four pieces. Each jackfruit is filled with fleshy pods, each encasing a large seed. Remove the core running along each wedge, then dig the fleshy fruit pods out of the surrounding white fibers and extract the seeds. You can eat the seeds by boiling and peeling them — they have a texture like chestnuts and can be eaten as a snack or added to curries. If you don’t want to use them, you can compost or discard them with the rest of the scraps.

Once your fruit pods are extracted, you can eat them fresh or freeze them to use in smoothies. Discard the skin and fibers of the fruit carefully, so you don’t get sap anywhere. If you did get any sap on the blade of your knife, wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water. Then, hold the blade over an open flame from a lighter or your gas stove burner — the flame should burn off any of the sticky residue. You can also try using coconut oil to remove the latex (the sticky substance) — just rub it on the affected area, let it sit, and then scrub it off.

Unripe Jackfruit: If you’re cooking unripe jackfruit, start by cutting the skin off the fruit. Then, cut the flesh into large chunks, and simmer in a pot of water until tender. You can then separate the pods from the rest of the fruit, remove the seeds, and use the green jackfruit in your favorite savory recipes.

Not sure you want to go through all that hassle? You can find canned green jackfruit in brine and canned ripe jackfruit in syrup at most Asian grocery stores, and Trader Joe’s carries canned green jackfruit now too. It’s worth getting the hands-on experience at least once, though — just make sure it’s only figuratively hands-on, because if you don’t wear gloves, you’re going to be sorry!

Get the scoop on all the other ingredients you need to try on our Pinterest page.

(Photos via Wuthipong Pangjai, Natasya Mohd Adnan, and Nang Saw Thay Y Laksn Chun Vthay / EyeEm; Virginie Blanquart / Getty; Brit + Co)

Jackfruit Basics: Everything You Should Know

Jackfruit is a green, spiky, oversized football-shape fruit that’s perfect if eating a more plant-based diet is one of your goals—or if you just like trying new foods. Thanks to its meat-like texture and ability to take on a variety of flavors, jackfruit is a great stand-in for pork in pulled pork sandwiches or beef or chicken in tacos, and one that omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans will all enjoy.

Until the past few years, jackfruit was not on our American radar. But now—perhaps in part because of our growing interest in plant-based diets and the increasing concern about the future global food supply—jackfruit is much more well-known (and easily available at well-stocked grocery stores) in the U.S. You can find it in several areas of a well-stocked grocery store—either in the produce section, canned goods, or the freezer aisle (more on that later).

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What Is Jackfruit?

Native to Southeast Asia, jackfruit is said to be the largest tree fruit in the world. A single jackfruit can weigh up to 100 pounds. A fresh one is oval-shape and fairly large with a bright green and dully-spiked exterior. Jackfruit is surprisingly versatile because it’s edible at its varying levels of ripeness, which yield different textures and flavors. In other words, it doesn’t have to be perfectly “ripe” to use.

What Does Jackfruit Taste Like?

Young, aka less ripe, jackfruit is very mild in flavor. It has a meaty texture that has been likened to chicken (albeit a meatless version that works in vegan recipes). “If you’re going for savory applications and using it as a mock meat, you need to make sure it’s young green jackfruit to achieve the best texture and flavor,” says Jamie Vespa, MS, RD. Savory jackfruit recipes like these sliders are a good use for young jackfruit.

As jackfruit ripens, the flesh softens, darkens, and sweetens. Its flavor turns more tropical—like a cross between pineapple and banana or pineapple and mango. Ripe and sweeter jackfruit is ideal in salads, smoothies, popsicles, sorbet, and other frozen desserts, such as jackfruit ice cream.

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How to Cut Jackfruit

It is fairly time-consuming to prep jackfruit from a whole fruit. Each jackfruit is large and needs to be cored—and the core is quite sticky. Then you have to pluck out the fruit pods (a darker yellow flesh nestled in-between whiter strands), and remove the seeds and their skin from inside each fruit pod.

How to Remove the Fruit From a Fresh Jackfruit

If you’re new to jackfruit, here’s our Test Kitchen-approved technique for getting the most out of your fruit.

  1. Coat a large knife blade with oil and line a cutting board with plastic wrap or parchment paper. (Jackfruits are sticky!) Wearing plastic or rubber gloves, cut jackfruit crosswise into 2-inch slices; then cut the slices in half.
  2. Run a paring knife along the core to separate it from the fruit pods. Pull out fruit pods and remove the white fibers and tips.
  3. Cut pods in half lengthwise; remove the jackfruit seeds and their rubbery skins. From there, cut the jackfruit into whatever size pieces you need for your recipe.

How to Cook Jackfruit

Because you can eat jackfruit raw or cooked, it’s fairly straightforward if you want to cook it; there are no proper doneness safety concerns. Simply season it however you’d like and then cook it. “I find it’s best tossed in a bold sauce or marinade or seasoning mix (it will take on just about any flavor profile you throw its way), and then sautéed over medium-high heat to pick up some color and caramelization,” says Vespa. “At that point, you can use it in tacos or a sandwich, or in place of shredded chicken over nachos.”

How to Cook Jackfruit Seeds

The seeds are also edible—simply boil them for 20 to 30 minutes first (or fry them) and eat them like a nut or potato. The white strands are technically edible, but they’re said to not be very tasty so we recommend discarding them.

Is Jackfruit Good for You?

The giant tropical fruit is quite nutritious. It is a good source of vitamins A, C, and a few of the B vitamins. Jackfruit also delivers decent doses of magnesium, copper, manganese, and potassium (a mineral most Americans don’t get enough of). You’ll also get a healthy serving of fiber. And it’s lower in calories than most other tropical fruits.

Related: Top 10 Superfoods of 2019

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Where to Buy Jackfruit

You can find jackfruit in nearly every section of well-stocked grocery stores or specialty markets (such as your local Asian market). You can buy it fresh in the produce section, typically alongside other tropical fruits. Select one with a strong fragrance. You can find canned jackfruit (sometimes in syrup or brine as well as plain water, so read the labels closely); cubed and unseasoned in resealable bags in the freezer aisle; plain or flavored in the refrigerated section (just heat and eat or add to a recipe); even dried and bagged like other dried fruits.

Buy It: Canned Organic Young Jackfruit 6-Pack 14-ounce cans, $29.15, Amazon

Now that you know all the basics of jackfruit and how to cook with it, add it to your grocery list for the week to give it a try.

How To Cut Jackfruit & Cook Jackfruit Seeds! (With Photos & Video)

Jackfruit is definitely an intimidating fruit! It’s appearance is jurassic, as I have heard it described, and it is the largest born tree fruit in the world. Did you know that they are capable of reaching 100 pounds? Oh what I would do for 100 pounds of jackfruit 🙂 But have no fear, Sweet Simple Vegan is here to help you cut through your very first jackfruit at home!I only discovered about three years ago at my local asian market, but it has been a favorite in my household ever since.

When I first spotted it in my local asian market, I was terrified! What on earth is that dragon egg looking thing for sale?! Luckily, there was a worker there who was entusiastic about my first encounter with jackfruit. He told me to wait where I was, and rushed to the back with the jackfruit. He came back and handed me my first sample of one of my now favorite fruits. It was love at first bite. Sweet, slightly crunchy, and reminiscent of a flavor I could not at the moment recall (which I later was informed that this is the flavor that Juicy Fruit gum was based off of, who knew!).

I ended up buying the other half of the jackfruit that he cut, and bringing it home to my family to experience. What the worker did not inform me, however, was that the jackfruit was full of latex (its ‘sap’), and that opening it at home without any prior experience would turn out to be a nightmare. I got the goo everywhere, and did not know how to take it off! After a google search (of course), we found that coconut oil would do the trick in removing the latex.

That first jackfruit that I had tried was the only latex nightmare that I experienced. All of the jackfruits that I had cut into following that one were never as latex-filled because I cut the fruit at peak ripeness. I have been told that it is dependent on the ripeness of the jackfruit, which I now from experience can confirm as true. After that day, I come prepared, and developed the method that I am sharing with you today.

For Christmas of 2013, my family gifted me a jackfruit! It was one of the best presents I have received 😉

I should note that the first photo in this post below (with what you need) is of a different jackfruit than the rest of the tutorial. The photos took two attempts because of quality issues, so that is why the two are of different sizes! This is how I cut my jackfruit, and is by no means me saying that this is “the proper way”, it is just what has worked for me!

>> I cut and “clean” the whole jackfruit at once, to get it over with and save me time during the week when I want to eat some. Therefore, this tutorial is going to show you how to do just that. If you don’t want to cut the whole fruit, simply follow the instructions but only work with a section of the jackfruit. <<

Ripeness: I leave my jackfruit with the rest of my fruit stash in my living room, and once my whole house has a beautiful jackfruit aroma flowing through it, I know it’s ready. The outside turns more yellow in color, is softer (but not mushy and rotting), and the spikes seem to appear larger in their base area.

Here is what I use:

  • Plastic wrap, to cover the counter top and to allow for easy clean up
  • Cutting board
  • Large sharp knife
  • Gloves (optional, discussed below)
  • Coconut Oil
  • 2 bowls: 1 large for the fruit, 1 small for the seeds
  • A jackfruit, duh 😉

Get your compost bin ready! I make sure to compost all of the scraps from my jackfruit because there is A LOT and my garden loves it 🙂 If you are interested in learning more about composting, and my organic home garden, you can check out a full detailed post here.

Next, cover your counter with plastic wrap. I covered the counter the width of 2 sheets of plastic wrap, making sure to overlap them a bit in the middle.Gloves?! Yes, gloves. Jackfruit has a natural latex (sap) that can get stuck on your hands and requires some effort to remove it later on. You could definitely skip the gloves if your jackfruit does not have a lot of latex, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

An alternative to gloves is to simply cover your hands with coconut oil before starting, just be extra careful when handling the knife as it may slip out of your oiled hand.Oil it up, oil it up! I cover my knife with coconut oil to decrease the amount of latex that sticks to it. This will not prevent it, but it does a good job in decreasing the mess you have to deal with later on.Continue cutting your jackfruit into rounds, about 1 1/2-2″ wide, until you reach the end of the fruit.Voila, you have all of your jackfruit rounds. Note that the end piece (the one I first cut off) was cut in half again, as you can see above.Look at all that goo on the knife! Although you had applied coconut oil at the start, a new coat may be necessary, depending on how much latex your jackfruit contains. Those heavier in latex will have a white colored goo, whereas this one had a light/clear one that wasn’t too heavy.The next thing to do is cut into each individual round, and remove the white core. If there is any white left after the first run through, simply go back and recut it until all, or at least most, of it is removed.Time to get diggin’! Now is the fun part, actually taking out the sweet juicy fruit flavored goodness! Lay out the fruit into a flat strip, and begin removing each pod, trying to avoid pulling out excess white stringy pulp.Pull out all of the pods until there are none remaining on the strip of jackfruit, then discard the strip into your compost (or trash if you do not compost, but you definitely should!).For the end piece, it is easiest if you flip it inside out (as seen above) and pull out the pods.After you have discarded the scraps, what I like to do is “clean” each pod. This is time consuming, yes, but it allows for convenience throughout the week when I want some jackfruit! This is also totally optional. You can just place the pods into the bowl and clean them as you eat them, but I like to do it all at once and eat them in peace later on 🙂 Take the jackfruit pod, and “open” it up so that you see the inside seed and its covering. Pull out the seed and its covering. Discard the “covering”, and place the seeds into the small bowl, and place the “cleaned” pod into a large bowl. Continue doing this until you “clean” out all of the pods.

Clean up: Wipe the knife with a towel to remove the oil and latex. Do not rinse it just yet. Put more oil on the knife, and wipe again to remove more latex. You can repeat this until you have removed as much as you can, Then, you can wash the knife with soap and water. As for the counter, simply gather the plastic from the outside in, into a large ball, and discard. Wipe the counter as needed if there were any spills on the sides. Store the jackfruit in the refrigerator, covered, for let’s say 3-4 days. I mean, it’s not like the jackfruit is going to even last that long anyways 😉So now what to do with the seeds? What a lot of people don’t know is that you can actually cook and eat the seeds of the jackfruit! Once cooked, they have a consistency similar to a potato or roasted chestnuts, and make a great snack or even compliment to salads. Check out my recipe for Roasted Garlic Jackfruit Seed Hummus (bean, nut & oil-free).

Ingredients

  • Jackfruit Seeds
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Rinse the jackfruit seeds, and be sure to get rid of any fruit scraps.
  2. Place the seeds to a pot with about 1″ of water over them seeds.
  3. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then lower to a simmer and cover.
  4. Allow the jackfruit seeds cook for 30 minutes or until soft (similar to a baked or steamed potato).

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Make sure you tag me on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan or twitter @sweetsimpleveg and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you post up any photos of jackfruit, I would love to see your photos!

You’ve likely found yourself in this situation at the store: you want to buy some bananas, but they are all green with no tinge of yellow in site. What do you do?

You buy them, of course, and hope that, when you want a banana, you won’t have to settle for a sour green one.

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A couple days later, you look on your kitchen counter, and your bananas are still greenish. You feel dismayed because you so wanted a ripe, sweet, yellow-brown speckled banana that melts in your mouth. Well, this situation won’t happen to you again if you follow these tips on ripening your fruits faster:

1. Paper Bag It

You know those old-school paper bags that used to enclose every school kid’s lunch? They are the perfect way to ripen fruit. Wonder why? It’s the ethylene, I say! All fruit has this gas and releases it to age the fruit, or ripen it. Loosely closing a paper bag on fruits effectively traps this gas, and therefore speeds up the ripening process. Keep the bag dry, away from direct sunlight, and at room temperature for optimal results. Give it a go with those peaches you bought that are as tough as a baseball! When that peach is soft to the touch, wash it up and eat it because it is ready to be eaten. This trick works wonders for avocados, bananas, pears, peaches, and tomatoes. And you know those sad bananas we talked about? They (and apples) give off more ethylene than other fruits, so if you stick one in a bag with another fruit, the ripening process will be accelerated even further.

2. Stick it in Rice

Uncooked rice, of all things, traps ethylene gas like a pro. If you stick a mango in some rice, it will ripen quicker than if you leave it on the counter. All you have to do is submerge it deep down in the rice to make sure it’s covered on all sides. You can do the same with avocados. Whether it’s brown rice or white rice or black rice, stick your fruits in it, and it will speed up ripening. The only caveat with this trick is that the skin on the fruit needs to be harder and not soft like a peach skin. But, fear not, for soft-skinned fruits can be ripened via the first trick or the next trick!

3. Use the Cotton Cloth Method

As the title of this trick suggests, this method of ripening involves a soft, clean, linen cloth or napkin or a cotton tea cloth. Lay out your cloth of choice, make sure it’s not coarse, and gently place your peaches, plums, or other soft-skinned fruit on it, stem side down. Leave space between each individual fruit. Cover the fruits with another cloth or fold the main cloth over the fruit. Kelp the fruits covered until the fruits are soft to touch or smell fragrant and like they are supposed to, that’s how you know they are ready to eat!

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All of these techniques work for the following fruits if you select the right one: avocados, papayas, bananas, persimmons, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, mangos, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, pineapples, and tomatoes. Other fruits like apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, watermelons, oranges, lemons, limes, blackberries, and gooseberries cannot effectively be ripened at home, so select them wisely and store them in the refrigerator to ensure that they don’t rot before you want to eat them!

Image source: Alex / Flickr

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Edible Tropicals

Jackfruit trees yield the largest fruits of all fruit trees, with some weighing well over 50 lbs. This truly massive tree belongs to the mulberry family (Moraceae) and is known taxinomically as Artocarpus heterophyllus. It is closely related to but not to be confused with the breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) which similar to jackfruit has a very sticky latex that exudes from severed leaves, stems and fruits.
Unfortunately, jackfruit tree cultivation is pretty much limited to the tropics as the young trees are sensitive to freezing temperatures. Aside from cultivation in Hawaii or certain regions of Florida, yielding fruit from one of these trees outside of an enormous greenhouse would be nearly impossible. Regardless, jackfruit trees may be grown to a limited size within a normal greenhouse or even in some cases indoors given adequate light. To grow a jackfruit you must obtain some seeds, and search no further than a fresh jackfruit.
To eat a jackfruit, first you must be sure that it is ripe. Jackfruits are typically sold immature, and unripe, these will be green and firm. As the fruit ripens dark patches and yellow color emerge, along with a very distinct and strong fruity smell. Additionally the skin of the fruit should give in slightly to pressure, indicating that the fruit is ready to be cut. To accelerate the ripening process, jackfruit may be placed outside in warm sunlight for a few hours or more. To slow the ripening process, jackfruit may be stored in the refrigerator.
Before cutting into a jackfruit, be aware of the powerful latex that resides within the fruit. If this latex gets on skin, soap and water will prove ineffective to clean it off. Instead, keep some cooking oil handy as the latex is easily removed with oils. Furthermore latex or nitrile gloves should be used to protect ones hands against the sticky latex. A long knife should be used to cut the fruit down the middle, be sure to apply a generous amount of oil on the knife before cutting the fruit to prevent the latex from adhering to the blade.
Pictured above is a ripe jackfruit with some slight yellow tinges and brown and black spots visible. Compare this to the unripe jackfruits pictured at the top of the page.
Cut the jackfruit longways with a large knife to expose the midrib and surrounding fruits.
Carefully use a smaller knife to cut out the midrib from the rest of the fruit, as shown above.
Now it is possible to easily remove the yellow fruit pods from the stringy white filaments.
Finally, the seeds should be removed from the fruit pods so that the fruit may be eaten, cooked or blended in smoothies. The yellow flesh of a ripe jackfruit will taste like some kind of combination of banana, mango and pineapple. Don’t discard the seeds as they may also be cooked and eaten, or planted to become new jackfruit trees.
Preparing and storing jackfruit flesh:
The yellow fruit pods of a jackfruit should be stored in airtight bags or containers for only a couple of days in the refrigerator. Since it’s quite difficult to eat an entire jackfruit in a timely manner, I prefer to store the bulk of my jackfruit flesh in the freezer for long-term storage and for use in smoothies.
How to grow jackfruit seeds:
The seeds from jackfruit are large and full of energy for the developing seedling. This means that whatever method you choose to grow your jackfruit you will inevitably end up with a large and healthy seedling. One of the most important factors is planting fresh seeds, as older seeds become more dry their chances of germination dramatically decrease. To ensure success, simply place a jackfruit seed about 1 inch into well draining potting soil. The seeds may even be placed in a cup of water placed on a window sill, and eventually small roots and a stem will emerge indicating that it is time to transfer the germinated seed into soil. The seeds should germinate in about a month, but this will vary depending on climate and the freshness of the seeds.
Upon germination the young jackfruit seedling will grow rather quickly. The first few leaves will appear and enlarge in about a week. Within a few months the stem will thicken and more leaves will appear. Avoid fertilizing jackfruit seedlings for the first year or two and be sure that the soil is draining well as waterlogged soil is lethal.
Jackfruit seedlings utilize the energy held within the endosperm of their large seeds to grow a thick and long tap root and send up a shoot with developing leaves. The leaves develop rapidly so that the plant may begin to photosynthesize and provide the energy required to sustain its growth.
How to cook boiled jackfruit seeds:
I like boiled jackfruit seeds, although they are also good roasted and in stir-fry. To boil jackfruit seeds bring a pot of water to boil (4 cups water per 100 seeds should do) and add a teaspoon of salt. Throw in the jackfruit seeds and let them boil for about 10 minutes and turn off the heat, letting the seeds steep in the hot water for about 5-10 minutes longer. The result is a starchy, soft textured seed with a mild flavor.
A cooked jackfruit seed should be peeled of the outer casing before eating.
Believe it or not, jackfruit trees are used for much more than their delicious and nutritious fruit and seeds. The latex is often used as a glue, while the wood is highly coveted for building furniture and houses. In many regions of the world this is a sort of miracle tree that provides shade, fruit, latex and wood.

Seasonality of Jackfruit:

  • Jackfruit is in season year-round.

Health Benefits of Jackfruit:

  • Jackfruit contains Vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, antioxidants, potassium, fiber, calcium, and protein.

How to Select Jackfruit:

  • Choose jackfruit with a bright green or yellow color and a fragrant scent.

How to Store Jackfruit:

  • Leave jackfruit on the counter to ripen. Once ripe, it should yield slightly to pressure.
  • Wrap cut fruit tightly in plastic wrap or airtight container and refrigerate up to 7 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

How to Prepare Jackfruit:

  • To cut a ripe jackfruit, first make sure to wear a pair of gloves and cover your cutting board with plastic wrap. Oil a large knife and cut jackfruit into 2-inch slices. Cut the slices in half and run blade along the core line to separate the pods. Break pods off the skin and remove the white fibers and tip. Split pods lengthwise and remove seed and rubbery seed skin. The rest can be eaten! The seeds can also be boiled for 20-30 minutes and eaten.
  • Ripe jackfruit can be eaten fresh or baked into a dessert. Unripe jackfruit can be used as a meat substitute in dishes like tacos, “pulled pork” sandwiches and more.

Fun Facts About Jackfruit:

  • Jackfruit is the world’s largest tree fruit, averaging 15-33 pounds each! The large fruit grows directly out of the trunk or branches of the tree.
  • The exterior of the Jackfruit is covered with spiny, knobby bumps and is green in color.

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