Weighing between 4 and 45 kilograms, the huge jackfruit is so rich in nutrition it could save millions from hunger and malnutrition.
Few people outside of southern Asia have ever even heard of the jackfruit, but for the people of Asian countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam it is crucial source of food and nutrition. At first glance, the jackfruit looks like an oversized avocado or a green dragon egg from Game of Thrones, but inside the rigid hard peel lies hundreds of highly nutritious seeds.
The jackfruit is the largest tree-born fruit in the world, and is also conveniently one of the most nutritious ones. By being rich in protein, potassium, calcium and iron, it could play an important role in healthy bodily growth and save millions of malnutritioned people from starvation.
While highly nutritious foods usually have unfavorable flavors, the jackfruit seeds actually taste like a combination of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. Even more miraculously, each 100 grams of the fruit contain about 100 calories, meaning that person could receive enough nutrition for a day from just 20 to 25 seeds.
In its native regions, people eat the jackfruit in many different ways. It could be eaten raw when ripe, of in hot dishes like jackfruit curry, stir fry or fried chips, and even as juice or baking flour made from dried, crushed seeds.
Besides from human food, it also has many other uses. The jackfruit tree’s leaves make a delicious and nutritious food for farm animal, and its orange bark is used to make textile dye. The trees also excrete a sticky latex substance that can be used as glue, and its wood is sometimes sold as timber.
What gives specialists so much hope in the jackfruit is its low-maintenance cultivation and potential of bearing large numbers of fruits. Over the course of two harvests, a single tree can carry as many as 150 fruits.
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Making the jackfruit readily available outside of its native region is still far fetched. However, some countries like Brazil have started cultivating the fruit domestically and are finding new ways to store and ship it.