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Jackfruit – Introduction PDF Print
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The Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a species of tree and its fruit, native to southwestern India, and possibly also east to the Malay Peninsula, though more likely an early human introduction there.

It is a small evergreen tree growing to 10-15 m tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, elliptical, 5-25 cm long and 3-12 cm broad, often lobed on young trees but entire on mature trees. The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences 3-7 cm long and 1-2.5 cm broad; the male and female flowers produced on separate inflorescences, the female inflorescences commonly borne on thick branches or the trunk of the tree (cauliflory).

The fruit is huge, seldom less than about 25cm in diameter. Even a relatively thin tree (circa 10 cm) can have these huge fruits hanging on it. The fruits can reach 36kg in weight and up to 90cm long and 50 cm in diameter.

The sweet yellow sheaths around the seeds are about 3-5mm thick and have a taste similar to pineapple but milder and less juicy.

The English name jackfruit derives from Portuguese jaca, which is derived from Malayalam chakka. See below for other names of the fruit worldwide.

Cultivation and uses

Jackfruit is widely grown in South and Southeast Asia and Brazil. The jackfruit is in the mulberry family Moraceae. It is also grown in parts of central and eastern Africa, Brazil, and Suriname. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh.

One of the earliest descriptions of the jackfruit is to be found in the 16th century memoirs of the Mughal Emperor Babar, who was not much enamoured of it:
"The jackfruit is unbelievably ugly and bad tasting. It looks exactly like sheep intestines turned inside out like stuffed tripe. It has a cloyingly sweet taste. Inside it has seeds like hazelnuts that mostly resemble dates, but these seeds are round, not long. The flesh of these seeds, which is what is eaten, is softer than dates. It is sticky, and for that reason some people grease their hands and mouths before eating it. The fruit is said to grow on the branches, the trunk, and the roots of the tree and looks like stuffed tripe hung all over the tree". [1]

Like its cousin the durian, the jackfruit is something of an acquired taste, but it is very popular in many parts of the world. A unopened ripe fruit can have a unpleasant smell, like rotting onions. The lightbrown to black seeds with white innards are indeed about the size of dates. People often oil their hands with kerosene/parafin before preparing jackfruit, as the rest of the mass of the fruit is a loose white mass that bleeds a milky sticky sap, often used as glue.


Commercial availability

The jackfruit bears fruit three years after planting and the fruit is the largest edible fruit in commerce.

In the United States and Europe, the fruit is available in shops that sell exotic products, usually sold canned with a sugar syrup. It is also obtained fresh from Asian food markets. Sweet jackfruit chips are also often available.

The wood is used for the production of musical instruments in Indonesia as part of the gamelan and in the Philippines, where its soft wood can be made into the hull of a kutiyapi, a type of Philippine boat lute. It is also used to make the body of the Indian drums mridangam and kanjira. It is also widely used for manufacture of furniture.


Dishes and preparations

Jackfruit is commonly used in South and Southeast Asian cuisines. It can be eaten unripe (young) or ripe, and cooked or uncooked. The seeds can also be used in certain recipes.

Unripe (young) jackfruits are also eaten whole, cooked as a vegetable. Young jackfruit has a mild flavour and distinctive texture. The cuisines of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Vietnam use cooked young jackfruit. In many cultures, jackfruit is boiled and used in curries as a food staple.

  • Chakka Pradaman: Jackfruit pudding from Kerala, India.
  • Chakka Varatti: Jackfruit Jam from Kerala, India.
  • Chakka Vattal: Jackfruit Chips from Kerala, India.
  • Panasa Koora: Traditional Jackfruit Curry from coastal Andhra, India.
  • Gudeg: traditional dish from Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia.
  • Lodeh: traditional Indonesian vegetable dish with coconut milk.
  • An optional ingredient in Sayur asam (Indonesian clear soup; the name means tamarind vegetables)
  • Also ingredient in Indonesian traditional Padang cuisine.
  • Jackfruit salad: Vietnamese dish with boiled young jackfruit.
  • Rice and curry in Sri Lanka

The seeds can also be eaten cooked or baked like beans. They taste similar to chestnuts.


Other preparations:

  • Jackfruit chips
  • Asian ice desserts (including Indonesian & Filipino)
  • Turon, a Filipino dessert made of banana and jackfruit wrapped in an eggroll wrapper
  • Sometimes an added ingredient for cassava cake
  • An optional ingredient in kolak (an Indonesian mung bean and coconut based dessert).
  • It is thought that jackfruit is the basis for the flavour of Juicy Fruit chewing gum.
  • Jackfruit candy



The fruit is called a variety of names around the world:

South Asian names
  • Bengali: কাঁঠাল Kãţhal (National fruit of Bangladesh)
  • Bhojpuri: Katahar
  • Kannada: Halasina hannu
  • Hindi: Katahal
  • Malayalam: Chakka
  • Marathi: फणस Phaṇas
  • Oriya: Panasa
  • Sinhala: Kos
  • Tamil: Palaa
  • Telugu: Panasa
  • Sanskrit: Panasam
Southeast Asian names
  • Cebuano: Nangka
  • Indonesian: Nangka
  • Lao: Mak mii
  • Malay: Nangka
  • Tagalog: Langka
  • Thai: ขนุน Kanoon
  • Vietnamese: Mít
East Asian names
  • Chinese: 波罗蜜 Bōluómì
  • Korean: 바라밀 Baramil
African names
  • Malagasy: Finésy
  • Swahili: Finesi

European names

  • Portuguese: Jaca
  • Spanish: Jaka; Fruta de Jack

Cite: Wikipedia

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 November 2006 )
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