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Is Jackfruit The Food Of The Future?

Added December 11, 2018, Under: Environment, Nutrition

Is Jackfruit new to you?

People in the know are calling it a “miracle” fruit that could help feed the world in years to come.

Just one jackfruit tree can produce up to three tons of food in tropical areas where it is grown.  But its popularity is growing elsewhere too.  If just one tree can produce so much, think of the enormous quantity a whole plantation of jackfruit trees could provide?

More about jackfruit

A member of the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family, the jackfruit originated in southwest India, where it grows abundantly.  It then spread to other parts of India, southeast Asia, the East Indies, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.  But it also grows in Africa and South America – in fact anywhere with tropical and near-tropical conditions including Florida and Hawaii.

The jackfruit is an excellent food source

While the average size of the fruit is 10 to 25 pounds, it can grow up to 3 foot long.  These massive, green, oblong fruits come with a bumpy, fleshy exterior while the inside contains many pale yellow, plump bulbs.  These are edible and joined at the core.  The seeds can also be cooked, eaten on their own or ground into flour, providing many different foods for local inhabitants.

While a ripe, unopened jackfruit has a strong, unpleasant odor, the pulp of the opened fruit smells sweet.  When eaten ripe and raw, the taste of jackfruit is sweet and similar to pineapple, mango and banana.

But it can even be eaten unripe.

Then it will have more of a neutral flavor – rather like a potato and can be used in savory dishes, taking on the taste of any herbs and spices used.  It makes the perfect plant based substitute for meat dishes such as shredded chicken or pulled pork.  The seeds themselves can be boiled or roasted and eaten as nutty type snacks and are high in protein, potassium, calcium and iron.

A great way to help to feed many different populations, the jackfruit is also packed with nutrients including fiber and antioxidants.  Just 2 cups of jackfruit contain 310 calories with plenty of protein and the following lineup of vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A: 20% of (RDI) (recommended daily time)
  • Vitamin C: 36% of RDI
  • Riboflavin: 22% of RDI
  • Magnesium: 30% of RDI
  • Potassium: 28% of RDI
  • Copper: 30% of RDI
  • Manganese: 32% of RDI

Jackfruit has not yet received the attention it should have.  The media do cover it – but only occasionally. They rarely write on the immense possibilities of the fruit and its importance in the context of food security, climate change and global warming. Not only media, the general public as well as the policy makers do not seem to realise its health, economic and business potential.”

 M Suchitra

 

 

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