WHY JACKFRUIT IS THE NEXT BIG THING – Healthy Positive Mind –
Tree-born tropical fruit grown in South and Southeast Asia has become a health-conscious favorite because, according to Helms, it’s “high in protein, potassium, and vitamin B, and lower in calories than most meat-free alternatives like corn and soy.”
On the outside, this giant fruit resembles something out of the Jurassic era and emits a sweet yet putrid stench.
But don’t be fooled: The fruit, known as a jackfruit, is being hailed as a “miracle” crop that could save millions from starvation. And the unique fruit inside of it is just the beginning of the jackfruit’s many wonders
.Here’s more about the strange but beneficial fruit.
‘It’s a miracle’
Nyree Zerega is a plant biologist at the Chicago Botanic Garden who has studied the genetic diversity of jackfruit tress in Bangladesh.
“In Bangladesh, where jackfruit is the national fruit, it is often considered the second-most important crop after mangos,” Zerega told Business Insider.
“And if you have space to grow something, you almost always have a jackfruit tree — due to both its valuable fruits and timber.”
Besides food, the jackfruit tree provides some of the following:
The leaves from jackfruit trees can be a source of food for goats and other farm animals.
The bark has an orange color, shown in the picture to the right, that was traditionally used as a dye for monk’s robes.
The trees produce a sticky latex substance that can be used as glue.
Wood from the trees can be sold or used as timber.
As popular as jackfruit is in Bangladesh, it is avoided in India, where it is thought to have originated and where it could bring copious amounts of food to millions of people who are starving and malnourished. That’s why the jackfruit tree — which can grow up to 150 jackfruits over the two harvest seasons it typically has each year — is so important.
A single jackfruit can yield hundreds of the small, yellow, fruit lobes (or bulbs) — each of which contain a highly nutritious seed. The fruit itself is a good source of Vitamin C, while the seeds are rich in protein, potassium, calcium, and iron. About one-fifth of a pound of the fruit has approximately 95 calories.
“It’s a miracle. It can provide so many nutrients and calories – everything,” Shyamala Reddy, who is a biotechnology researcher at the University of Agriculture Sciences in Bangalore, India, told The Guardian earlier this year.
“If you just eat 10 or 12 bulbs of this fruit, you don’t need food for another half a day.”
Dry it, fry it, juice it, BBQ it — just don’t let it go bad
A single fruit could feed your family for an entire meal, Zerega told Business Insider. That’s partly due to its size, but also because of the many different ways that people have learned to prepare the jackfruit. It can either be eaten ripe, when it is soft, fruity, and delicious, or unripe, when it resembles a potato.
In Bangladesh and other parts of Southeast Asia, jackfruit is served in dozens of ways. Jackfruit curry, stir fry, juice, chips, ice cream, and even baking flour — made from drying and grinding the seeds or fruit — are just a few examples of jackfruit’s remarkable versatility in the kitchen.
However, jackfruit does not keep for more than a few weeks after harvest, Zerega said, so a good way to preserve it (if you’re not going to make a jackfruit feast like the one in the photo below) is to store it in cans or dry it out into chips.