Could Jackfruit help with the hunger problem in the world?
Do you know what Jackfruit is? I did not till I read an article in Food Revolution Network. They so often come with interesting news which is health related. In this case, the news has more value than only health, it implies it might be a solution to mitigate the hunger in our world. I am happy to receive their newsletters.
The biggest fruit to grow on a tree
Let’s have a closer look at this interesting fruit. It is native to southwest India and grows well in tropical lowlands. The Jackfruit belongs to the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family. Its fruits have a light green skin which looks a bit like a melon and is covered with many little bumps. It is the largest fruit to grow on a tree. They can become huge weighing up to 55kg ( 120 lb) and reach a length of 90 cm (35 in). A mature tree grows from 100 to 200 fruits a year. Depending on the variety of the Jackfruit, the fruit flesh can be drier, also less sweet but somehow meatier, where the softer type is normally sweeter and juicier. It can be prepared in such a way where it resembles meat, paprika, tomato, spices, and herbs are used to create this effect. A good substitute for meat that vegetarians will like. Here are some nice recipes to try it out.
Seeds can be eaten
It is used in many dishes in countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh or the Philippines. Additionally, Thailand and Malaysia use it in their cuisine. The seeds of this fruit are eaten boiled, baked or roasted and the taste is compared to Brazil nuts. Many countries worldwide have come to appreciate this fruit. As an example, Brazil can boast of having 3 varieties of this fruit. In Africa, the tree was used to provide shade. Later on, it’s usefulness in the cooking of different dishes was discovered. As this tree needs to have at least near-tropical conditions to grow, regions like Florida, Australia and Hawaii will be able to cultivate this tree.
What does a Jackfruit taste like
This fruit holds a good source of dietary fiber, which is so important for our gut. Modern foods seldom provide the adequate amount of fiber one should eat every day. The pulp of this fruit is made up of 74% of water and 23% percent carbohydrates. 100 grams of the raw fruit is only 95 kcal and is rich in vitamin B6 (25% of DV), and some of the other B vitamins.
An interesting detail is that on the glycemic list, it is below wheat or rice, that is for the uncooked fruit.
The taste is a combination of mango, apple, banana, and pineapple. When the fruit is not ripe yet, it tastes more like a potato but still can be used in savory dishes. Do not be put off by its smell, an unopened Jackfruit does have a rather strong odor. But the moment this fruit has been opened you will enjoy its sweet smell.
Why you should eat Jackfruit
As mentioned, the fruit contains a significant amount of Vitamin B and it also contains vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps your body to fight free radicals and strengthen your immune system to fight colds and other illnesses.
The fiber in this fruit is good for your intestines. Your digestive system needs fiber to be able to function well.
There are phytonutrients like isoflavones, lignans and also saponins all known to play an important role in fighting cancer.
This fruit will also help you to keep a good blood pressure and lessen your chance of stroke or a heart attack due to its moderate levels of potassium.
The beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein, together with the vitamin A will help to keep your eyes healthy.
A fair share of calcium helps to keep your bones strong.
Could Jackfruit be an alternative crop?
As this tree can be grown in many countries, it could indeed be one of the solutions that exist to mitigate the hunger many millions of people worldwide suffer each day. The jackfruit is a healthy fruit and is currently used in a big variety of tasty dishes. It is easy to grow and is pest and diseases resistant. Because climate change has the potential to increase temperature extremes as well as the frequency of precipitation events, this tree is especially suited. The Jackfruit likes warm temperatures and is drought resistant. For farmers who will have to change their crops due to a rise in temperature, this tree could be a perfect alternative to more traditional crops. You can find a canned version of this fruit but specialty markets like Whole Foods or Sprout Farmers Markets will be more likely to have the fresh fruit.
As I live in the south of Spain I will look if I see this fruit on the weekly market. There is of course also the possibility to try and grow your own tree. Have a look at the following video. Wishing you success.
Source: Wikipedia and Food Revolution Network
Photo Source: Pixabay
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