What Is A Jackfruit?

Get to know the spiky island fruit and learn how to use it in the kitchen.

Description: In the event you find yourself walking underneath a jackfruit tree—say in south Florida, Hawaii, Jamaica, or the Bahamas—duck! Jackfruit, the largest tree fruit in the world, can weigh up to 80 pounds (though most of the ones you’ll find in markets, like H Mart, weigh 12 to 20 pounds). The fruit has a thick, rubbery rind with a mosaic of conical-shaped spikes and is green or yellow when ripe. The foamy interior consists of large edible bulbs of yellow, banana-flavored flesh that enfolds a smooth, light-brown seed. In addition to ducking, you may want to hold your nose: A fully ripe, unopened jackfruit emits a mildly disagreeable odor (though less offensive than the banned-from-airplanes durian fruit). Fortunately, the pulp of the opened fruit smells similar to pineapple and banana.

Flavor Profile: Some describe the taste as like a mellow mango, while others say it’s a little peachy and a little pear-like. The texture, depending on the ripeness of the fruit, can be mildly chewy like a soft gummy bear or like chunky applesauce.

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How to Use: Jackfruits can be enjoyed raw or cooked (with coconut milk); roasted; added to soups; used in jams, juices, or ice cream; and canned in syrup with sugar or honey. 

Jammin’ Jackfruit: The fruit’s name was the inspiration for two bands: Jackfruit, a funk-rock quartet from Vancouver whose songs include “Man in a Potato Suit” and “Over a Boney Prominence;” and Jackfruit, an Indonesian band.