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The jackfruit is a huge, spined, oval fruit that is believed to have been first cultivated in Indian rainforests. It is largely grown in tropical or close to tropical climates. The fruit itself is the largest fruit in the world. It can weigh up to 80 pounds (36.29 kg) and be up to 3 feet (.91 m) long. The exterior of the fruit is not edible, but the flesh and seeds are commonly eaten. When the fruit has turned from green to yellow, it is ready to be picked. Jackfruit tends to be an acquired taste and frequently does not appeal to those unfamiliar with it. Cutting and preparing the jackfruit is somewhat difficult because the fruit is very sticky and can actually be used as glue. Most people oil their hands to prevent some of the stickiness from transferring to their hands, but washing up afterwards is still a chore.
Raw and ripe arw two kinds of jackfruit.
Refers to the jackfruit which is not fully ripe. Raw jackfruit has a crunchy, rather than mushy texture, and is generally preferred as a vegetable. They are cooked with spices and in gravies similar to any other vegetable preparation. When unripe (green), it is remarkably similar in texture to chicken, making jackfruit an excellent vegetarian substitute for meat. In fact, canned jackfruit (in brine) is sometimes referred to as "vegetable meat".
Refers to fully ripened jackfruit. The ripening jackfruit has an odor which has been compared to the smell of rotting onions. This aroma often discourages people from trying the interior. When the ripe jackfruit is opened, numerous sweet, banana-like bulbs are revealed, and most people find them quite delicious.
Refers to the finely chopped or roughly chopped after peeling. Another interesting way of chopping jackfruit would be to chop into big chunks or quarters.
When you cut the jackfruit in half, you'll note its light green flesh, and a layer of seeds. These are easily scooped out with a spoon. Deseeded jackfruit can be chopped, cubed or sliced as per individual preference or recipe requirement.
Remove the outer rind and take out the fleshy interiors. Deseed the jackfruit and place the jackfruit on the chopping board. Cut it into small cubes with a sharp chopping knife and relish them as fresh fruit (when fully ripe) or as a vegetable(raw).
How to select
Jackfruit can be purchased frozen, dried, or canned either in brine (usually unripe) or in syrup (ripe and sweet). If using fresh jackfruit, it's a good idea to oil your knife and hands first before cutting, as the fruit is very sticky. It should be firm and without any blemishes or soft spots. Ripe or raw fruit may be chosen as per recipe requirements.
· In India, jackfruit is eaten raw or used in curries, soups, and stews.
· It also flavours various deserts and is a common ingredient in fruit salads.
· In most countries, the fruit is either cooked with rice or eaten raw. Many cultures do not wait for the jackfruit to ripen but prepare it when it is still relatively small, unripe and crunchy.
· Certain recipes from Australia suggest serving jackfruit gravy over lamb or pickling the small unripe fruits. The other recipes are jackfruit patties, casserole, salad.
How to store
Jackfruits turn brown and deteriorate quickly after ripening. Cold storage trials indicate that ripe fruits can be kept for 3 to 6 weeks at 52° to 55°F (11.11°-12.78°C) and relative humidity of 85 to 95%.
· Jackfruit contains many vitamins and minerals, and offers numerous health benefits.
· The fruit's isoflavones, antioxidants, and phytonutrients mean that jackfruit has cancer-fighting properties.
· It is also known to help cure ulcers and indigestion.
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