Scientific Name: Artocarpus heterophyllus
Region of Origin: the jackfruit is believed to have originated in the Western Ghat mountain range, located in the southwest of the Indian peninsula. It is also currently cultivated in tropical, wet forests throughout southern Asia, Africa, Australia and the East Indies. Jackfruit is more popular in northern Brazil and Surinam than in the rest of the world.
General History: Jackfruit was planted in Hawaii in 1888, and was introduced into northern Brazil in the mid-1800’s.
In 1782, plants from a captured French ship were taken to Jamaica where the tree is now common. About 100 years later, the jackfruit began to appear in Florida. Today, there are less than a dozen bearing jackfruit trees in South Florida and these are valued mainly as curiosities. Many seeds have been planted over the years but few seedlings have survived.
In South India, the jackfruit is a highly popular food. There are more than 100,000 trees in backyards and grown for shade in various plantations. Government horticulturists promote the planting of jackfruit trees along highways, waterways, and railroads to add to the country’s food supply.
Away from the Far East, the jackfruit has never gained the same acceptance as its relative, the breadfruit. This is due largely to the odor of the ripe fruit and to traditional preference for the breadfruit.
2) Common Plant Uses:
As food: Westerners generally consume the jackfruit in the full-grown but unripe stage, when it has no objectionable odor. The fruit is cut into large chunks and, after boiling until tender, the tasty flesh is cut from the rind and served as a vegetable. Jackfruit has also gained recent popularity as a meat substitute in vegan dished such as meatless pulled pork, curry, and various other dishes. The flesh of the unripe fruit can be canned in brine or with curry. It may also be dried and kept in tins for a year.
- **It is important to note that when preparing raw jackfruit, it contains copious amounts of gummy latex. The latex clings to the knife, hands, and pot it’s cooked in. The latex can be prevented from sticking and removed by rubbing with oil.
- Once the jackfruit has ripened, the odorous residue should be removed from the kitchen at once if the bulb and seeds are extracted indoors. The bulbs may then be enjoyed raw or cooked; or made into ice cream, chutney, jam, jelly, paste, papad, or canned in syrup.If the bulbs are boiled in milk, they can form a pleasant, orange colored custard once drained off and cooled. The ripe bulbs may also be dried, fried in oil and salted for eating like potato chips.
- The ripe bulbs, fermented and then distilled, produce a potent liquor.
- The seeds may be boiled or roasted and eaten or preserved in syrup like chestnuts. They can also be canned in brine, in curry, and in tomato sauce. They are often included in curried dishes. Roasted, dried seeds are ground to make a flour which is blended with wheat flour for baking.
- As medicine: The Chinese consider jackfruit pulp and seeds tonic, cooling and nutritious. The seed starch is given to relieve biliousness and the roasted seeds are regarded as an aphrodisiac. The ash of jackfruit leaves, burned with corn and coconut shells, is used alone or mixed with coconut oil to heal ulcers. Mixed with vinegar, the latex promotes healing of abscesses, snakebite, and glandular swellings. The root is a remedy for skin diseases and asthma. An extract of the root is taken in cases of fever and diarrhea. The bark is made into poultices. Heated leaves are placed on wounds. The wood has a sedative property; its pith is said to produce abortion.
- Other Uses:
- As animal feed: In some areas, the jackfruit is fed to cattle. The tree is planted in pastures so that the animals can avail themselves of the fallen fruits. Surplus jackfruit rind is considered a good stock food.
- As dishware: In India, the leaves are used as food wrappers in cooking, and they are also fastened together for use as plates.
- As glue/sealant: The latex can serve as birdlime alone. The heated latex can be used as a household cement for mending chinaware and earthenware, and to caulk boats and holes in buckets.
- As building material: Jackwood is a useful timber in Ceylon and in India; some is exported to Europe. It changes with age from orange or yellow to brown or dark-red; is termite proof, fairly resistant to fungal and bacterial decay, seasons without difficulty, resembles mahogany and is superior to teak for furniture, construction, turnery, masts, oars, implements, brushbacks and musical instruments. Sharp tools are needed to achieve a smooth surface, but it polishes beautifully. Roots of old trees are greatly prized for carving and picture framing.
- As dye: Jackwood sawdust or chips can be boiled to retrieve a rich yellow dye commonly used for dyeing silk and the cotton robes of Buddhist priests. In Indonesia, splinters of the wood are put into the bamboo tubes collecting coconut toddy in order to impart a yellow tone to the sugar.
- As cloth: There is only 3.3% tannin in the bark which is occasionally made into cordage or cloth.
3) Growing Instructions:
- Growing: The jackfruit is adapted only to humid tropical and near-tropical climates. It is sensitive to frost in its early life and cannot tolerate drought. If rainfall is deficient, the tree must be irrigated. The jackfruit tree flourishes in rich, deep soil of medium or open texture, sometimes on deep gravelly or laterite soil. After harvesting, the fruiting twigs may be cut back to the trunk or branch to induce flowering the next season. The fruits may be covered with paper sacks when very young to protect them from pests and diseases.
- Sunlight requirements: Full sunlight to partial shade
- Propagation: Best from seed from a reputable tropical plant store
- Difficulties with this plant and/or controlling spread: It cannot tolerate “wet feet”. If the roots touch water, the tree will not bear fruit or may die. A more advanced seedling, with its long and delicate taproot, is very difficult to transplant successfully. Budding and grafting attempts have often been unsuccessful. Diseases of importance include pink disease, stem rot, fruit rot, male inflorescence rot and leaf spot.
History of this Plant at Hedonisia: / Our trees have yet to produce fruit that is edible because of the aforementioned ‘wet feet’!