Energetics of Jackfruit: Jack of All Trades

Native to South India, this fruit is very popular in tropical regions and is even the national fruit of Bangladesh. Jackfruit is in the Moraceae family, which includes the fig, mulberry and breadfruit. It is the largest tree-born fruit, easily getting up to 80 lbs.

Jackfruit is known for having a strong aroma to it, the aroma is a sweet combination of banana and pineapple. The taste is similar to its aroma.  Everyone who tries it has a different impression but the most common flavor profiles people taste are combinations of apple, pineapple, mango, or banana.  I personally think it tastes like a strawberry banana smoothie.   The seeds are also special, in that they apparently smell like chocolate after they are roasted.

Varieties

These are distinguished by the characteristics of the jackfruit flesh.  Both the jackfruit’s flesh and seeds are consumed.

Varikka/Kaapa/Jaca-dura: The inner flesh is hard when ripe and tends to be drier and less sweet.

Koozha/Barka/Jaca-mole: The inner flesh is very soft when ripe and almost dissolves when you eat it due to its moistness.  This variety is very sweet and tends to have a darker gold colored flesh.

Imba: This type is ground up and spread over a mat to dry in the sun to make a natural chewy candy.

Ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet with subtle flavors and is used in many dishes, mostly dessert or sweet dishes.   The seeds of the ripe jackfruit are edible and have a milky, sweet taste.  They can be boiled, baked, or roasted.  The roasted and dried seeds are often used in curries.

Unripe or young jackfruit is extremely popular in South and Southeast Asia.  It is used in many cuisines, including curries and as filling for cutlets and chops. Young jackfruit is very sought after by vegetarians and vegans for its ability to be a meat substitute. In order to eat unripe jackfruit you must first peel it and then the remaining fruit can be chopped into edible portions. It has a mild taste and has a distinct meat-like texture (think shredded chicken).

How to Choose and Store

Jackfruit comes as a whole fruit, which is very large with spiky skin, or it comes pre-cut up and packaged for your convenience.

Ripe: When shopping for whole ripe Jackfruit look for ones that give off a strong sweet smell, which starts happening a few days bore it is fully ripe.  For pre-packaged ripe jackfruit, make sure that the pieces are not discolored, they should be vibrant yellow, and they should be soft and tender.

Unripe: When shopping for whole unripe jackfruit, look for ones that do not have a strong smell.  Pre-packaged fresh unripe jackfruit are harder to come by, as most stores only sell ripe jackfruit fresh, but you can find canned unripe jackfruit in the canned foods aisle of your grocery store.  When buying canned jackfruit, always buy jackfruit that is in water or brine, never in syrup.

Cut up jackfruit can be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days and the freezer up to 2 months. Although, for the best flavor eat jackfruit as fresh as possible.

Pro-Tip: Jackfruit are very sticky, so when cutting into the fruit it is best to coat your knife in oil first.

Nutrition

Jackfruit is surprisingly low calorie for a fruit, at only 95 calories per 100g. It is also rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C.  Jackfruit is a great source of the B vitamins pyridoxine (B6), niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), and folic acid (B9). It is also a small but significant source of vitamin A and the flavonoids carotene-B, xanthin, lupine, and cryptoxanthin-B. Jackfruit is a good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.

Energetics

Jackfruit is both sweet and sour, as well as cooling.

Jackfruit is considered empty sweet and is therefore heavily cleansing and cooling. Jackfruit can help build the yin-fluids, such as tissue and bodily fluids, and help tonify a thin and dry person.  Jackfruit helps moisten dry conditions in the lungs.

Unripe jackfruit tends to be more sour than sweet. It has an astringent effect which can help prevent or reverse abnormal leakage of fluids and energy.  It also dries and firms the body tissues.

Cautions: Those who are overweight, sluggish, or have a damp constitution should avoid overeating jackfruit.

Smoky Slow Cooker Pulled Jackfruit Chili

Ingredients:

  • 18 oz black beans drained and rinsed if from can,
  • 18 oz kidney beans drained and rinsed if from can,
  • 18 oz cannellini beans drained and rinsed if from can,
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 5 oz mushrooms diced
  • 2 20 oz cans of young green jackfruit in water NOT in syrup or brine!
  • 2 28 oz can of Ro*tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilis drained
  • Homemade smokey chili seasoning recipe below

Homemade Chili Seasoning

  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 5 TBSP garlic powder
  • 5 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsps crushed red pepper flakes less if you’d prefer no heat
  • 5 tsps dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper

Garnish

  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Grated cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the contents for the homemade smokey chili seasoning together until perfectly blended. Set aside.
  2. Place all of the chili ingredients into the slow cooker.
  3. Dump the chili seasoning into the slow cooker and mix well to blend.
  4. Keep the slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Serve and garnish with optional garnishes.

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