Hawaii Grown Fruit of the Month – Jackfruit

Welcome to Conscious Maui’s Fruit of the Month. This is where we describe some of the fascinating fruits that can be encountered when exploring around the island. We will cover how to identify it and how to eat it. This month let’s read a bit about the giant humongous Jackfruit! 

If you missed last months featured fruit of the month click here to learn more about Mountain Apple.

What is Jackfruit:
Jackfruit, native to southwest India, is the fruit of the month. Jackfruit aka Jack tree is in the fig, mulberry and bread fruit family of trees.

Where to get Jackfruit:
Farmer’s markets, grocery stores or road side fruit stands in Hawaii or other tropical places. Canned jackfruit can now be found on-line or grocery stores. Check the refrigerator of your grocery store, it might be there with the vegan cheese or plant based “meat” selection.

When to Harvest Jackfruit:
In Hawaii, August through December is when fresh Jackfruit will become available.
Grown from seed the tree has been seen trying to bear fruit in as little at 3 – 4 years. Grafted trees will bear fruit in 2 -3 years. A mature Jackfruit tree is capable of producing up to 200 fruits in a single year. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but taking into consideration the size of a single jackfruit I assure you this tree can fill many bellies. The Jackfruit is the largest of the tree-borne fruit. A single fruit can weigh up to 120 lbs or 55 kilos. Typically the fruit grown in Hawaii weighs in between 20-35 lbs.

How to eat Jackfruit:
Jackfruit can be eaten ripe or unripe, cooked or raw and makes an ideal plant based meat alternative due to its stringy fibrous texture. Similar to pulled pork it can be purchased already prepared as a barbecue style meal. Unripe jackfruit can be cooked, the flavor is mild and the fruit will take on the flavor of the spices with which it’s cooked. When ripe it has a pleasantly sweet flavor similar to Juicy Fruit gum.

The skin of the Jackfruit is thick and produces a white sap that can be removed with a bit of coconut or olive oil. You may want to wear some gloves to prevent any sensitivity that could be caused by the sap.  Opening a Jackfruit is a bit of a challenge; you can’t just peel it like a banana or bite into it like an apple. But the effort is worth it.

Why Jackfruit is da bomb:
High in fiber and antioxidants Jackfruit is an amazing addition to our diet. Jack fruit is also a great source of Vitamin A and C, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese. The seeds also edible are an excellent source of protein, potassium, calcium and iron. Jack fruit is great for the immune system, Improves digestion, is a great source of natural healthy energy. Supportive of healthy heart, vision and skeletal system. Jackfruit may even help prevent cancer.

We hope you try Jackfruit when you get a chance.  Find them at local Markets or Farmers Markets and enjoy!