I had never seen a jackfruit let alone taste one before this summer. However, it just so happens that my uncle Kumar Fudong owns a farm in Itahari, a southern town in Nepal, that has a few jackfruit trees. And it just so happens that I went to Nepal this summer with my family.

When my family and I were in Nepal, we went to stay at my uncle's farm for a few days, walked around the grounds, and picked a couple jackfruits. The jackfruit was bigger and heavier than I thought it would be, and the texture of the bumpy skin was like the fruit had perpetual goosebumps. However, the interesting outer looks of the jackfruit were nothing compared to the distinct flavor, which was unlike anything I had ever tasted. 

What is a jackfruit?

Maya Giaquinta

You may have seen this huge, yellow-green fruit in the grocery store and thought, "Wow, that is one big fruit." Well, you would be right because the jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world! This fruit can grow up to 3 feet long and can weigh 100 pounds. The trees may be as tall as 70 feet, and they can grow up to 500 jackfruits in a year.

Jackfruits thrive in a tropical climate. They are native to Southeast Asia in countries such as India, Nepal, and China, but they can also be grown in other tropical areas like places in Africa, Australia, and the Pacific islands. 

These fruits are jam-packed with nutrients like fiber, protein, and antioxidants. The seeds are also edible and nutritious with high levels of potassium, calcium, and iron. All of these nutrients mean that jackfruits are great for your health. Jackfruits boost the immune system (due to the antioxidants like vitamin C), improve digestion (due to fiber), and increase energy levels (due to different B vitamins) among other health benefits.

How do you eat it?

Jackfruits are highly versatile fruits. They can be eaten in several different ways from raw in smoothies to dried in chips to roasted in soups. Jackfruit is also often used as a meat substitute due to its stringy, meaty texture, and with the right spices, it goes perfectly in BBQ sandwiches, gyros, burrito bowls, crab cakes, and more.

Maya Giaquinta

In order to actually eat the jackfruit, you have to break it open. People do not typically eat the bumpy jackfruit skin. The inside of a jack fruit is yellow, soft, and smells like strong overly ripened fruit. This yellow flesh is sectioned off into little pocket-like structures that each have one big, brown seed. The seed is also edible, which is why my aunt (pictured above de-seeding the jackfruit) collected the seeds to boil and eat them afterwards.

What does jackfruit taste like?

Maya Giaquinta

Jackfruit tastes like a sweet banana combined with pineapple (kind of like a banana Laffy Taffy), except the texture is quite different. This yellow fruit is wet and slimy and is similar to eating an oyster but also slightly fibrous. If you’re a big texture person, this is may not be not the fruit for you.

I liked the taste, and I would eat jackfruit again. However, I couldn’t eat more than one small bowl of jack fruit because the taste and texture became too much for my taste buds to handle. If you’re trying jack fruit for the first time, I recommend doing it with a big group of friends or family so this gigantic fruit doesn’t go totally to waste.