For me, the jackfruit has always been the holy grail of weird food at the international market. Big, spiky, and mysterious. Like a dragon. But jackfruits are sold by the pound, and they’re big bastards, so I could never justify the expense of buying one, since I didn’t know if it was going to be any good. But lucky for me, my cousin is a bad influence, and because she and I were having a weird food marathon, we bought one.
The picture doesn’t do justice to its size. It was gigantic. It weighed in at 15 pounds (6.8 kg), and it was one of the smaller ones in the pile. I carried it out of the market like a very fat (and very prickly) baby. Admittedly, though, it’s not nearly as spiky as its foul-smelling cousin, the durian. Durians have, on more than one occasion, drawn blood and left little splinters in my hands.
Trying to get into a fruit this size comes with lots of unexpected logistical problems. How do you put it on the table without the spines digging horrible gouges into the wood? What kind of knife do you use? And what the hell part are you even supposed to eat? Cutting the fruit open didn’t make that last part much clearer:
Lucky for me, I’d tried dried jackfruit before, so I guessed that the yellow bit was the meat. Extracting it was a bit difficult, made more so by the fact that the white pith has latex or something in, which turns your hands sticky as all hell. But eventually, I got it partly disassembled:
You can tell how sticky that pith is by the fact that a strip of it glued itself to the husk.
The good news: jackfruit is delicious. It’s got a peculiar texture that makes you think it’s going to be rubbery, but then it isn’t. There’s not much juice in it. It smells faintly sweet, like pears or pear blossoms. It tastes like a mixture of pear, apple, pineapple, and lychee, but all very subdued and subtle. The only bad thing about jackfruit is that it’s so damned big, which meant, by the time I finished eating that one slice, I was stuffed to the gills. And, because I planned poorly, there wasn’t room in the fridge to save the rest of it, which is a shame, because I totally would’ve eaten it.
Here’s how tasty jackfruit is: I’m actually going to buy another one, because I wanna make jam out of it. I think it’d make amazing jam.
The Final Judgment: It’s expensive, and it’s bulky, but it’s totally worth trying if you can get it. It’s got a subtle, sweet flavor and it’s nice and filling. A good meal all ’round.