If you are in Asia, Australia, or South America, you will not want to miss trying the largest fruit in the world – jackfruit. It is full of goodness and it’s incredibly flavoursome but a lot of people get intimidated by how to cut jackfruit because of its size and spiky nature. Personally, it’s my favourite fruit and I love eating it raw, making jackfruit curry (you can now get canned jackfruit in most countries), or as any other kind of meat replacement (think jackfruit tacos or jackfruit pulled pork – yum!).
To make it easier for you, I’ve also provided a video of how to cut jackfruit below
For those unfamiliar with it, it may be a little intimidating as it’s full of spikes on the outside, and it can weigh up to 30kg, so read on for some advice on how to cut jackfruit.
Firstly, here are the health benefits of jackfruit:
- It gives you energy right away as it’s high in carbohydrates (and simple sugars: fructose and sucrose), but it contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.
- 100g of jackfruit = 95 calories
- Rich in antioxidants
- It’s good for your eyes – improves vision and prevents cataracts (contains vitamin A)
- Lots of vitamin C – improves your immune system and helps you fight those pesky colds
- Makes your bones and skin healthy
- Protects from colon, lung, and oral cavity cancer due to high concentration of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and flavonoid
- Natural laxative due to high levels of fibre – prevents constipation
- Has been known to help people with anemia and asthma
- Contains vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid
- Good source of potassium, which helps maintain stable blood pressure
- Also contains magnesium, manganese, and iron
Where to buy jackfruit in Bali (or “nangka” in Bahasa Indonesian):
I don’t know about other countries, but if you happen to be craving some jackfruit in Bali – go to the local markets or little fruit stands that they have on the sides of the road. You can buy half a huge jackfruit for as little as $3 and it will taste much nicer than the tiny, overpriced packets you get in supermarkets.
Cutting the fruit yourself will certainly save you money and you will have fun doing it too! We buy half a jackfruit at a time…and more often than not it ends up disappearing that same day (I might have a little obsession)…
What’s the fruit like?
Jackfruit is sweet and absolutely delicious, can’t really compare it to anything as it has a very unique taste, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it. It may look a little bit like durian, but don’t worry, it tastes (and smells) nothing like it!
The texture can’t be compared to anything either, the closest I can think of is medium-aged coconut flesh; slightly chewy, filling, and satisfying.
You can’t really miss a jackfruit tree, the fruit is pretty massive and spiky! You can see smaller ones (about the size of a watermelon) sold at markets, but we were told that those are only for cooking. I did buy one once out of curiosity, but it was totally inedible raw. Update 2022: Now I understand that this is what you make all the jackfruit meat replacements from, but most of us get it in its canned form.
When you cut the jackfruit, you will see a sticky latex oozing out – you don’t want to touch that with your bare hands, but if you do, that’s ok, read my tip below on how to handle it. It’s good if it’s sticky, it just means the fruit is ripe.
The edible bits are the small bulbs (about the length of your finger, or longer if it’s very ripe). They have a very large jackfruit seed inside, so when you take that out, you only get left with the outer shell, which is only perhaps 1/4 of the entire fruit (you will get a lot of rubbish!).
What to do with the sticky latex (ooze) of the jackfruit:
There are several techniques:
Most important tip: don’t use gloves – they will stick to the jackfruit and rip almost right away.
When you bring the jackfruit home, it will have a decent layer of latex on it, you can get rid of that in 2 ways: by taking a plastic bag and literally wiping it off, or you can do the same using a lemon slice.
When you get down to cutting it, the best thing to do is to oil your hands before touching anything (this is when you could use gloves if you wanted to, as long as they’re well oiled). Go for an oil that has little scent, or one that’s not going to bother you. Some good ones would be coconut oil or grapeseed oil, but olive oil would work just fine too.
Don’t use your best knife for cutting jackfruit and make sure to oil it beforehand too. It’s really quite a pain getting rid of the stickiness once it grabs hold of your knife.
If you do get jackfruit latex on your hands, don’t worry – just put some oil on them and wash them in warm water, that will get it out in no time!
What to watch out for:
Some bits of the jackfruit may be a little off. You can easily spot them because they will have a pinky-brownish colour and the smell will be different too. Sometimes the jackfruit on top of these bad spots is ok, it’s just a matter of smelling them to make sure. Below is a picture of a bad spot.
Don’t be surprised if you wake up the next morning and rush to the loo – jackfruit is a natural laxative and will really help you out in that department! It shouldn’t give you diarrhoea, but if you eat jackfruit several days in a row, expect to go about 2 times a day.
How to cut jackfruit – instructional video:
When we went to Thailand recently, my boyfriend got really excited seeing a fruit lady cutting a jackfruit at the market, so we had to try it when we got home. After just one try he got pretty good at it and so I started filming the techniques just for fun. Over time, it became our mini-project and we decided to put this video out there to help others.
The video makes the whole process so much clearer, but a written explanation is also available below.
How to cut jackfruit – with images
There are 2-3 ways of cutting a jackfruit, depending on which part you decide to buy.
How to cut jackfruit if you get the “butt”:
1. Cut it vertically down the middle.
2. Take out the non-edible middle bit.
3. For the fancy way, “pop” the jackfruit open now. This helps loosen up the bulbs and you are able to clearly see which bits may be bad.
4. If popping it at this stage is too hard, you can cut it vertically once more.
5. Now you just remove the bulbs with your hands or cut them free with a knife.
6. Once you’ve got all the bulbs, remove the jackfruit seeds using either a small knife or your fingers, by slicing them vertically. The seeds are edible if you cook them, or once in a while, you get a sprouted one, which you can use to plant your own jackfruit tree.
There will be lots of fibres around the fruit, most of the time they are not edible, but when the jackfruit is very ripe, some fibres will expand enormously and become just as tasty as the fruit.
How to cut jackfruit if you get a “circle”:
1. Cut it in half and take out the middle bit.
2. Roll open to loosen the bulbs.
3. At this stage it may be faster to cut out the entire “line”, but you can also just remove the bulbs by hand.
How to store jackfruit
Jackfruit is tastiest if you don’t wash the individual bulbs. However, if you really want to wash them, do so just before eating, otherwise, they go soft and mushy.
If it survives that long – store the cut bulbs in the fridge for 1 – 2 days.
Bon appetit and I hope you enjoyed my little guide on how to cut jackfruit!