I have been meaning to give this stuff a try for a long time. I’ve had a few pieces of freeze-dried jackfruit before that were quite tasty, so the fresh stuff had to be good too, right?
RIGHT! In fact it may be my new favorite fruit.
But before I go into what makes jackfruit so awesome, let me tell you a bit about what is not awesome…getting the fruit out of the husk. Jackfruit grows in prickly green pods that can grow to be enormous, like as big as a 5 year-old child enormous. Luckily, my farmer’s market sells jackfruit pre-cut into manageable sizes, so I was able to pick up this half piece that was about the size of a football.
You can see that the actual fruit is the darker yellow lobes encasing the seeds, the rest is a kind of fiberous pith that is edible but less delicious, and there’s a giant inedible core much like that of a pineapple.
I figured it’d be no big deal to pluck the lobes of fruit out of the husk since they’re somewhat dry and firm. Nope. I spent almost an entire hour hacking this thing to pieces to get at all that goodness. It was a massacre, and half way through it I was sure that no matter how good this fruit was it couldn’t be worth the pain of wrestling it out of a sticky, prickly football for an hour.
And my hands were covered in some sticky sap-like stuff that would not come off.
All for about this much fruit…
But oh did it turn out to be worth it!
This is a bizarre fruit to describe. The flesh is somewhat starchy and fiberous, but flexible. It feels dry to the touch and has only a faint sweet smell and practically no flavor as you place it in your mouth. Biting down feels like chomping into a slice of orange peel, and a similar fine spray of zesty oil hits your palate but without a trace of the bitterness of citrus zest.
The flavor explodes as you bite through and it tastes juicy although no juice comes out. It reminded me a bit of pineapple, but without that prickly enzymey tartness that pineapple has. Some say it’s similar to an under ripe banana and I can kind of see that, but really it’s a flavor unlike any other.
Every time a took a bite I was so surprised that such a candied sweetness could come from such a hard and juiceless piece of fruit. It really is new and exciting with every bite.
Have you ever tried jackfruit?