This tree species is in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family (Moraceae). It’s thought to have originated in the region between the Western Ghats of southern India and Malaysia’s rainforests.
Jackfruit is a tropical tree suited in tropical lowlands and is widely cultivated throughout the world’s tropical regions. It has resemblance with Durian fruit, but the difference is Durian fruits have a spiky covering that is dangerous and very hard. On the other hand, jackfruit has the largest fruit of all trees, reaching as much as 55 kg (120 pounds) in weight, 90 cm (35 inches) in length, and 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter.
A mature jack tree can produce about 100 fruits per year. The ripe fruit is sweet and aromatic (depending on variety) and is often used for desserts. Canned jackfruit tastes milder and has a meat-like texture that so it is called a “vegetable meat.”
JACKFRUIT IN ASIAN CUISINES
Jackfruit is a star in some Asian foods. Both ripe and unripe fruits are valuable in most recipes, especially with soups. In Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Jackfruit takes pride as the national fruit. Various products in the International market are made of jackfruits such as canned or frozen, chilled meals, noodles, chips, and pastries.
Historically, jackfruit has been a staple food in India, Myanmar, China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The fruit is commonly consumed, but almost all parts of the tree-the trunk, leaves, fruit, and seeds are useful. Although the fruit is often eaten fresh as long as it is ripe, both ripe and unripe are usually cooked; the ripe ones are canned or processed into jellies, jams, or ice cream. The mature unripe fruit is sometimes used as a meat substitute due to its high nutritional value and texture when cooked.
BENEFITS FROM JACKFRUITS
What can mostly Asians and others benefit from eating jackfruits? Having the biggest fruit in the world, can jackfruit offer so much nutritional, medicinal, and commercial value?
Eating raw jackfruit either in a soup or whatever dish offers the following:
Fat: 2 grams
Carbs: 38 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Calcium: 40 milligrams
The protein content of jackfruit makes a unique feature from the other fruits. It provides more than 3 grams per cup, higher than the 0–1 gram of apples and mangoes. The fruit is also jam-packed with several antioxidants, which are likely responsible for the majority of its health benefits.
Jackfruit has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-cancer, and anti-fungal properties. If people only knew and have enough knowledge about the uses and benefits this fruit can give, jackfruit won’t be underutilized. Most of the fruits get wasted due to ignorance, lack of post-harvest technology, and gaps in supply chain systems. Jackfruit contains more protein, calcium, iron, vitamins, and other essential nutrients than common fruits.
USDA Zones 9-11
Despite its tough tree, Jackfruit can’t tolerate frost and drought, as it cannot withstand severe temperatures. A mature tree can only survive up to 118 F heat and, if acclimated, about 32 F cold temperature for a short time.
Some varieties can reach up to 100 feet, but some dwarf varieties like black gold restrict up to only 10-20 feet height. What’s good about growing them is that they can live for long years, even reach more than 100 years. This implies that you can benefit from it for a long time, whether you grow for business purposes or personal consumption.
Why Should You Grow a Jackfruit Tree?
Growing this tree is a lifetime investment. All parts of the jack-fruit tree are beneficial. The trunk of the tree is quite a handsome rustic tree that resembles oak. It is a natural shelter for birds and pollinators. And if you have chickens, free-range, they sometimes live in the trees, too! A single tree provides enough fruits for your needs, and you can even sell them if you want or share with the neighborhood.
Seed germination is preferred as stem propagation is more complicated. From the variety of your choice, get a seed and rinse it in warm water to remove sticky pulp. Sow the seed in a small pot and transfer it later on the ground.
Instead of the seeds, you can also get a plant from a nursery.
Planting Jackfruit Tree
Choose a wide-open space that receives full sun, clear it from weeds and grasses, and dig a hole. Ensure good drainage by mixing 1/3 part of compost, sand, perlite, and organic matter in the garden soil to prepare a rich, porous potting soil for planting.
In the hole, transplant your healthiest plant, water it, and mulch all around.