Also known as “Poor man’s fruit”, Jackfruit is now grown into a miracle food for economies, especially for Vegans. It is indigenous to tropical and subtropical climate, abundantly found in South and Southeast Asian countries. India has enormous potential for jackfruit cultivation, though currently underutilised due to far less awareness. It belongs to the family of fig and mulberry and is considered highly sustainable because of its drought and heat endurance properties, hence preferable for farmers.
An average jackfruit tree provides 200 fruits per year, whereas the production by a mature jackfruit can go upto twice that amount. Best part about jackruit trees is that they require low maintenance unlike many staple crops. It represents a solution to the worldwide food security crisis. Pertaining to the menace of climate change, staple crops like wheat, rice, and corn are likely to be replaced by jackfruit-related preparations, saving millions of lives from starvation in Asian nations.
Amazingly, its exterior and interior is quite paradoxical to one another; odorous and hard from outside while juicy, healthy from inside. Many suggest that ripe jackfruit tastes similar to pineapple.
Jackfruit is an embodiment of numerous health benefits. It is rich in fiber content, calcium, vitamins, antioxidants, protein, iron, and potassium (helps in controlling the blood pressure), therefore indeed a healthy addition to diet. It’s been established that two cups of jackfruit covers nearly 1/3rd amount of every day vitamins and minerals needed, as recommended. Protein and fibre content of approx 6 grams can also be consumed from just those two cups.
Even its glycemic index (of a raw jackfruit) is very less, making it a great alternative as a food additive for people with diabetes too.
It is a vitamin hub:
- Vitamin C for boosting immunity
- Fiber for regulation of digestive system
- Vitamin B, especially B6, for metabolism and energy boost
but not limited to this.
Types of Jackfruit
Versatility is what defines a jackfruit. Everything associated with it adds value to the food industry. Different stages of jackfruit have different purposes. It is five in one:
- Tender/ raw (kachccha) jackruit
- A slightly grown jackruit with sweet & soft seeds
- Unripe jackfruit, it has tremendous demand and is being exported imported in large quantities in the frozen form
- Ripe jackfruit, usually consumed as fruit, for table purposes
- Jackruit seeds, used for creating various mixes and flours
It is interesting to note that out of the state five forms, only the Ripe Jackruit is ingested directly, rest four find their consumption in the form of vegetable or related usage.
Jackfruit: A meat alternative
Overtime, jackruit has proven itself to be one of the best contenders for Plant-based meat alternative. Young, unripe Jackruits are the best source and provide that ‘meat like’ texture. However, in order to avoid mushiness in the texture, it is advisable to cook until it shreds over a stovetop. Hardcore meat eaters have given a testament to the meat-like texture of a cooked jackfruit, they have been blown away by this resemblance.
Jackruits can also be eaten fresh (ripe ones), and can also enrich the preparations, for eg, in curries, soups, and especially tacos. Jacks replaces pulled pork aptly. For those who are finding it tough to make a switch, substitutes like jackfruit are here to make the transition smooth and close to negligible.
It would be unfair to not to acknowledge the progress made so far, there are many American and European startups, solely focusing on the jackfruit-centered exotic preparations targeting vegetarians and vegans. Also, thanks to internet penetration, there are many recipe videos available on an easy search for you to explore and prepare your own jackfruit special. Don’t forget to add a spicy and creamy tinge to it using PlantMade’s Chilly Sauce and Creamer.
However, it is now high time to have a world research centre dedicated to jackfruits. And India being one of its motherlands, is expected to take the lead in R&D and promotion of this miracle food.
There is so much yet to be unravelled, and that can only be discovered by giving this neglected resource its due respect and attention.
Learn more about Jackfruits and India via this amazing talk by Shree Padre (Jackfruit Ambassador) on Sangam Talks.