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Taste Test: Jackfruit

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. :)

Jackfruit 1

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.

Jackfruit half

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.

Jackfruit closeup

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.

Jackfruit massacre

And my hands were covered in some sticky sap-like stuff that would not come off.

All for about this much fruit…

Harvested jackfruit

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.

Jackfruit 2

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?


Taste Test: Mamey

Found a new food!  Meet the Mamey…

I’ve seen this fruit almost every trip to the farmer’s market and always wondered about it but never dared to take one home until now.

Wikipedia describes the mamey’s flavor as a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, and maraschino cherries with the texture of an avocado.  Turns out this is a pretty spot-on description, though I found the described cherry flavor to be more of a general fruitiness rather than a specifically cherry taste.

Very glossy and fatty like an avocado.

Check out at this crazy-looking seed!

I hollowed it out…

…and saved the pulp to make a smoothie with.

Details on the resulting smoothie tomorrow!