Finally! After months of false leads I got my hands on a fresh jackfruit. And not just any jackfruit, this one was a behemoth. Weighing in at 20 lbs, it’s a wonder how this huge fruit dangled precariously from its tiny stem without succumbing to the effects of gravity. Then again, when is nature not amazing?
The jackfruit, a native fruit to Thailand and some other Southeast Asian countries, is the largest known treeborne fruit with some weighing in at 100lbs! It has been hailed as a “miracle crop” and an option to possibly end world hunger. It’s no wonder this fruit is garnering some attention lately.
Another fantastic benefit of this fruit is its versatility. Some say young, green jackfruit almost has a similar taste or mouthfeel to pork when cooked down, while others use the sweet, ripe version for desserts or nutritious smoothies. Little tidbit – the jackfruit is the flavor of Juicy Fruit gum.
I was pretty lucky to have scored one of these babies, let alone such a massive specimen. I caught the tail end of the season even though the season is a bit loose according to the tree owner I received mine from. We plucked it from the tree at the beginning of August here in Naples, FL. Mine was already sweet so I was unable to use it in a savory dish as I had planned, but it was really easy to butcher because the fruit was so soft.
Don the apron, let’s crack this thing open!
The first and most important step is to prep your work area. Jackfruit is STICKY – like, no joke. You will want to have all of your tools ready and surface protected. I used some packing paper that I hoard away for such endeavors. I took the advice of others and wrapped my knife handle with cling wrap and wore latex gloves. I kept some oil on hand also to grease up the blade before diving in.
I found the serrated knife worked best for slicing through that spiny rind. To start, make a cut straight through horizontally, the jackfruit’s axial plane, to make even halves. As soon as you open it you will notices some of the white juices oozing from the flesh, that’s more of the super sticky sap. If you have a rag handy give each half a wipe to keep from spreading that everywhere. Then divide into quarters by slicing through the median of each half. Finally, cut the with core out from each quarter making sure to leave the fleshy pods in tact.
Now you’re ready for the fun stuff! The endgame here is to extract all of the fruit pods. Start by running your knife carefully under the pod releasing it from the rind. Once it is free you will want to make sure all of the stringy bits are pulled away so you’re left with a smooth pod. Last step is to get the seed out of the pod along with the pink skin which may still be attached to the pod.
Repeat the steps to removing the fruit pods until you’re all done or for as long as you can stand it! This one in particular took me about an hour, not including set up and prep.
What you can do now with the fruit you reaped is limitless! I froze mine by laying them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment then later transferring to tupperware. However, you can certainly use it right away, jar it or share with your neighbors…I’ll bet they’ve never tried one before 🙂
Please send any comments you have on this post or any great jackfruit recipes you may have.
‘Till next time….