What is Jack Fruit
The jackfruit is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia and is believed to have originated in the rainforests of Western Ghats of India and is cultivated throughout the low lands in South and Southeast Asia. Major jackfruit producing countries are Bangladesh,
India, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. Jackfruit is also found in East Africa e.g. Uganda, Tanzania, and Mauritius as well as throughout Brazil and Caribbean nations such as Jamaica. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh and is one of the three auspicious fruits of Tamil Nadu in India along with mango and banana.
Jack Fruit is a popular tree in Sri Lanka and is considered as a “Rice Tree” since Jack fruit is a substitute for rice in Sri Lanka and on many occasions, it saved the lives of this beautiful island’s people.
The jackfruit is a multi-purpose species providing food, timber, fuel, fodder, and medicinal and industrial products. The primary economic product of jackfruit is the fruit which is used both when mature and immature. 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”. Jackfruit seeds (nuts) can be roasted like chestnuts, or boiled. The fruit pulp is sweet and tasty and used as dessert or preserved in syrup. The fruits and seeds are also processed in a variety of ways for food and other products. Jackfruit value added products include chips, papads, pickles, ice cream, jelly, sweets, beverages like squash, nectar, wine, and preserved flakes, etc. Additionally, jackfruit leaves, bark, inflorescence, seeds, and latex are used in traditional medicines. The wood of trees is also used to build long-lasting furniture at a higher price since the hardness of the wood.
It is a nutritious fruit rich in carbohydrates, proteins, potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamin A, B, and C. Due to high levels of carbohydrates, jackfruit supplements other staple foods in times of scarcity in some regions. The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous and is a source of dietary fiber. The presence of isoflavones, antioxidants, and phytonutrients in the fruits indicate that jackfruit has cancer-fighting properties. It is also known to help cure ulcers and indigestion as per “Jackfruit Improvement in the Asia-Pacific Region”