What is jack fruit?
The jack fruit has an appearance similar to that of the durian, large with green or yellow prickles on the outside, although the jack fruit can grow to a much bigger size than the durian. The fruit belongs to the mulberry family and is cultivated throughout southern China, Malaya, East Indies, India, Ceylon and Burma. The fruit is best grown in humid tropical or near tropical climates.
How it tastes
The jack fruit has a taste similar to chicken when green (unripe), making it an ideal meat substitute for vegetarians. When ripe, the fruit tastes like a cross between a banana and a pineapple and is quite sweet.
The fruit is usually cooked in chunks or canned. It is a popular additive for curries and sauces. The juice is quite gummy and is difficult to clean off utensils and skin. Applying oil before coming in contact with the fruit makes cleaning easier.
The leaves and fruits are commonly used in India as livestock feed while the latex, when heated, is used as a glue for repairs. The seed of the jack fruit is highly regarded as an aphrodisiac and the leaf ash can be mixed with other ingredients to heal ulcers. The root of the tree is also commonly used to naturally treat asthma and skin conditions. The wood of the tree is a popular ingredient in all types of furniture and building as well as musical instrument production. The wood sawdust is also mixed with alum to create a silk dye.