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Jackfruit might be the biggest fruit you’ll ever see. They can reach up to 120lbs, nearly three feet long! On the outside, jackfruits have a spiky, verdant green skin that sometimes has blushes of brown or yellow. When fully ripened, jackfruit skin turns a yellowish color and no more green will remain. Inside, jackfruit has sticky, golden, fibrous pulp and buttery yellow pods of fruit. Each pod of fruit contains a large seed.
Jackfruit, Artocarpus heterophyllus, is a big, spiky, tropical fruit that’s also known as jak or jaka. Rumor has it that a famous bubblegum brand modeled its juicy flavor after this strange fruit. We don’t know how true that is, but ripe jackfruit has a sweet, musky flavor that tastes like a combination of tropical fruits like mango, pineapple and banana. Often confused with durian (even though they’re very different fruits), jackfruits boast a heady fragrance that’s sweet, musky and pungently cheesy all at the same time.
The rind, core and raw seeds of jackfruit are inedible. Cooked jackfruit seeds, however, are not to be missed. Roasting and boiling are the most common ways to prepare them. Jackfruit seeds taste like a cross between a mild chestnut and a potato, with a touch of sweetness and a starchy texture.
It’s believed that jackfruit is native to India and Malaysia, and is cultivated throughout the world in tropical climates. You’ll find jackfruit growing throughout Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, United States, South America, Australia and beyond. It’s even the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka!
These incredible fruits grow from a jack tree and come into season during July and August. The jack tree has a staunch stature, with a wide, short trunk and a dense, evergreen canopy of leaves that can reach over 65 feet high!
On the outside, jackfruits have a spiky, verdant green skin that can have blushes of brown and yellow. When fully ripened, jackfruit skin turns to a more yellowish color and no more green will remain. Inside, jackfruit has whitish yellow fibrous pulp and buttery yellow pods of smooth, juicy fruit.
Choosing a beautifully ripened jackfruit is a skill worth gaining. For the best jackfruit hunting experience, wear a pair of kitchen gloves. They’ll help protect your hands from the spiky texture of jackfruit’s rind.
Young jackfruit rinds are a lush green color with blushes of brown or yellow. When fully ripened, their skin matures into a yellowish color and no more green will remain. Even though they’re already huge fruits, they’ll feel heavy for their size when you pick them up.
Like a melon, jackfruit has a sweet, musky fragrance that’s unmistakable when perfectly ripe. Once jackfruit passes the smell test, give it a slight squeeze. Ripe jackfruit will yield to gentle pressure.
First, take a breath. Having a plan for breaking down a gigantic jackfruit will make the experience both successful and rewarding.
First, secure a non-porous cutting board with traction by putting a damp napkin or towel underneath. Then, grab some kitchen gloves, a chef’s knife and some cooking oil. Jackfruit pros recommend oiling up your knife to help it glide through the sticky goo inside. Once your knife work is done, oil up your gloves before extracting the inner fruit pods.
Like a pineapple, jackfruits have a fibrous inner core. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the fruit in half around the lengthwise perimeter. Then, with the flat side down, slice the jackfruit in half again. Finally, cut along the core line to detach the pods. Remove the fruit pods from the husky fibers and enjoy!.
The chunky, edible pods can be further sliced, or saved whole. The seeds are only edible after being cooked, for instance by boiling or baking.
Raw jackfruit seeds are not edible. However, once cooked completely, they are usually enjoyed in starchy, savory preparations. The seeds are fairly large and take well to boiling and roasting. Jackfruit seeds taste like a cross between a mild chestnut and a potato, with a touch of sweetness and a dense, beanlike texture.
The national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, jackfruit is native to India and Malaysia. It now grows in tropical climates around the world, throughout the Caribbean, United States, South America, Australia and beyond.
Known for its good source of protein and fiber, jackfruit is packed with nutrition.
Jackfruit Nutrition (100g)
- Calories 95
- Protein 2g
- Carbohydrate 23g
- Fiber 1.5g
- Sugar 19g
- Calcium 24mg
- Vitamin C 14mg
For more complete information about jackfruit, see USDA.gov.
Jackfruit is in season during the summertime, peaking in July and August.
Jackfruit might just be one of the most practical fruits growing these days. Jackfruit is eaten in just about any form you can imagine from meatless and savory dishes to beverages, desserts, candies and snacks.
Rumored to be the flavor inspiration for a certain famous bubblegum brand, jackfruit has a sweet flavor that tastes like a combination of tropical fruits like mango, pineapple and banana. It’s also known for a bit of a pungent smell, one reason why it’s so often compared to durian.
Jackfruit is excellent in its raw form, but can be prepared in endless ways. Jackfruit is used as a meat substitute in vegetarian cooking, and is flexible enough to find a perfect home in desserts as well.
All kinds of beverages can be made with bubble-gummy jackfruit. Feed slices of jackfruit flesh into your juicer to add to fresh fruit juices and cocktails. Frozen chunks of jackfruit are an excellent addition to smoothies and frozen drinks as well.
To make delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, use your jackfruits to make a basic syrup, then add it to your drinks.
Jackfruit is best ripened on the counter, then refrigerated or frozen immediately. You can tell that jackfruit is ripe when, like a melon, it has no green color and yields to gentle pressure.
To store jackfruit, first break it down into either half and quarter sections, or completely remove the fruit from the rind. Then, securely wrap cut fruit food-grade wrapping or airtight containers.
Jackfruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Jackfruit flesh is generally ok for dogs to have in small amounts. The outer rind and seeds can be toxic, however, and should be kept out of reach of pets.
As always, your FruitStand fam encourages you to clear the safety of any new fruits or veggies with your veterinarian before offering them your pooch.
Depending on the ripeness of your jackfruit, eating it can be either tidy or messy. Jackfruit doesn’t have much color, but the juice and pulp can leave a stain on certain fabrics if left untreated.
Sometimes fruit is so delicious, it’s a little distracting. If you drop a bit of jackfruit on your clothing, table cloth or napkins, just treat the spot with a stain remover that’s safe for that particular fabric. Follow the directions on the product to prevent the spot from setting, and pop the item into the washer as soon as you can.
Jackfruit and durian are compared a lot, leaving many to wonder, what's the difference? Jackfruit is quite different from durian. Both durian and jackfruit have an interesting outer texture, but durian is covered in spiky thorns vs. jackfruit’s bumpy nubbins. Both fruits are known for their fragrance-forward nature, but durian fruit’s smell is much more pungent and would never come close to being confused for bubble gum, which jackfruit is known to have. The flavor, odor and texture of durian and jackfruit flesh are quite distinct from one another.
Jackfruit has a short shelf life and can begin to spoil quickly once it’s sliced open. Prevent lingering aromas of jackfruit in your home by preparing the fruit in a well ventilated and clean workspace. Refrigerate or freeze jackfruit in airtight containers to keep it fresher for longer.
Discard or compost any spoiled jackfruit right away, then clean any surface areas with soap and water or kitchen cleaner.