Jackfruit is one of the underestimated and least understood superfood. It is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much as 35 kg (80 lb) in weight, 90 cm (35 inch) in length, and 50 cm (20 inch) in diameter, but it means many things to many people. Like the five blind people who checked out the elephant, jackfruit means five different things depending on where you grew up in India. It’s a fruit, nut, vegetable, vegan meat and a carbohydrate. Most people from south of India love it as a fruit when fully ripe and its seed as a protein rich nut. In north, tender jackfruit or kathal, (an early stage where the seed is still very soft) is a gourmet vegetable and in Bengal the tender jackfruit is a vegan meat substitute, gacch-patha (tree-mutton) an indirect way of saying “why kill a goat if it is only going to taste like a jackfruit!” But for those from Kerala and Sri Lanka it’s primarily a healthy carbohydrate. The fully mature but unripe raw jackfruit known as ‘chakka’ in Malayalam is consumed as a whole meal, an alternate to rice and roti, along with a protein curry like fish or chickpea.
Tender Jackfruit, Kathal
The Vegan Meat stage when seed is soft
Mature Jackfruit Seeds
Ripe Jackfruit -Fruits are golden yellow in colour, very sweet with a strong aroma
Raw Jackfruit (Fully mature but not ripe) – fruits are creamy white in colour, neutral in taste and has no aroma