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 solve or 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 light green skin that looks a bit like a melon and is covered with many minor 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 suitable substitute for meat that vegetarians will like. Here are some nice recipes to try out.
You can eat the seeds
It is used in many dishes in countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh, or the Philippines. Additionally, Thailand and Malaysia use it in their cuisine. They eat the seeds of this fruit 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, its 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.
Have a look at this interesting YouTube video of a Jackfruit plantation.
What does a Jackfruit taste like
This fruit holds an excellent 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 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 has 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 isoflavone, lignans and also saponins, all known to play an important role in fighting cancer.
This fruit will also help you keep good blood pressure and lessen your chance of a stroke or a heart attack because of its moderate levels of potassium.
The beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein, together with 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 disease 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 Sprouts Farmers Market will be more likely to have the fresh fruit.
Be adventurous and grow your own fruit trees
Would you like to know how to grow your own 20 fruit trees? Well, then this book will help you with that wish. Some of these trees start as a small seeds while others begin their life like little plants in big containers.
It is important to know what kind of soil to use. Not all plants are the same, and some of them could prefer more sandy soil than others. Then there is the issue of how much light your fruit trees want and need. It is a good idea to get this book, which will help you avoid mistakes. It will mean that soon you will be able to enjoy the healthy harvest of your effort.
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 grow your own tree. Have a look at the following video. Wishing you success.
Before you leave, you might like to have a look at Recommendations. This page has a collection of things you could find interesting.
Source: Wikipedia and Food Revolution Network
Photo Source: Pixabay
Sadly such a big part of the Amazon Rainforest was lost these past few years. Huge wildfires and cutting to make agricultural land. Perhaps you like to read this post on the importance of taking care of the Amazon.
This page was very enlightening.I had never heard of the jackfruit tree.My first thought was that I would like to plant this tree in my backyard.However I am having second thoughts.You say that a mature tree can produce roughly 100 fruits a year ,each 100 lbs.That would be 10000 lbs of fruit! The tree must be huge.So please tell me how long does it take for a tree to grow from seed to the time it starts producing fruit.And what is the average tree size.
Although you say that the tree grows best in tropical lowlands this tree is also drought resistant and tolerates higher temperatures.Could it be grown in Southern California where temperatures are raising and drought is now prevalent ? Or if it requires much water ,which is also scarce,would it be best just to plant in tropical regions?
Good evening Carlos,
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I can understand your ” worry ” about those huge jackfruits. My personal experience with nature and many different fruit tree species is that one tree never grows all its fruit the same size. So, yes, even if a jackfruit can grow some which weigh up to 100 lb it is unlikely that all the fruits will be so big. I have noticed that one year a tree normally has a lot of fruits but these are smaller to then grow bigger but fewer fruits in the next year. This is valid for citrus trees, plums, avocado, you name it. I would say a jackfruit tree will have a similar pattern.
It will take around 18 months from seed to become a fruit-bearing smallish tree.
It can grow from 8 to 25 meters = that is up to 70 feet high.
The trees canopy diameter goes from 3.5 to 6.7 meter in 5 years.
It does not like temperatures below 40 F.
You can grow a jackfruit tree indoors in a big pot like that you can keep it a normal size, a little bit like a bonsai tree if you understand what I mean. This tree needs water but must have a filtrating soil, it does not like to stand with its roots soaking.
Do let me know if you are successful growing your jackfruit tree in California.
This is a great article on something new. As a diabetic I am always looking for healthy, tasty alternatives to stuff that is bad for me. I had never heard of Jackfruit until now. I am from Canada and going to guess they would be tough to get here and if I could get them they would likely be very expensive. Could you tell me how you feel Jackfruit would be for diabetics.
Good afternoon Dale,
I can see that living in Canada the Jackfruit would not be happy and probably die. In case you have the space how about growing it inside?
Diabetics would definitely profit from a natural diet, fresh vegetables and also fruits. With fruits do not choose always the sweetest ones but in general, the fiber and natural sugars help to control blood sugar levels, including a Jackfruit.
One should avoid dried fruits as their sugar content is much higher than in fresh fruits. What needs to be avoided are man-made foods which are loaded with hidden sugars, bad fats and a long list of undesirable stuff.
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I’ve seen these before, but I had no clue they were called jackfruit. It seems they could do well to fix hunger a bit in some areas of the world. If I remember correctly I think these are the fruits that smell worse than a corpse once you open them, or maybe I’m thinking about some other fruit.
How does one get the word out to solve something as huge as world hunger? I feel if they did mass produce these, countries would pump them full of steroids to sell them quicker, just like every other crop. But does that matter if it’s fixing hunger?
Good Morning Ty,
You are thinking about the Durian fruit, that one stinks a lot.
We already manipulate the 4 big crops that exist, rice, corn, wheat, and soy and look what is happening to our health. Nowadays GMO and pesticides are everywhere and make us sick. I really hope we do not mess with the Jackfruit. It is such a good fruit with a lot of beneficial things in it. It can grow in many places and will yield a big harvest if you treat it right. To feed millions of people with something that will make them sick I really do not see as a solution to world hunger, nature knows best and we should not interfere.
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I’d never heard of this fruit until I read your post! They look huge! I understand the benefits of Jackfruit from what you’ve explained, but I’m still not 100% sure on how it is going to solve all the hunger problems. Is it because it is so easily grown; it can be taken overseas to other countries and people won’t have to worry about the effects of global warming on it? That makes sense, I guess. Thanks for sharing!
Good Morning Danny,
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The Jackfruit tree adapts nicely to Climate Change and can be planted in a lot of countries. Then the fact is the big harvest and you can cook so many different things with it, sweet and salty dishes. One can eat the seeds so this tree is really great. It has a lot of health benefits so all in all a super fruit.
I hadn’t heard of the jackfruit until I saw your article. But as soon as I began to read your post I soon thought of the breadfruit, which you said the jackfruit is related to. (This, of course, made me think of Mutiny on the Bounty, but that’s another story, altogether.) I was educated, as I read “Could Jackfruit help with the hunger problem?” I appreciate the link to jackfruit recipies. I’ll have to try one or two; the Slow Cooker BBQ Jackfruit Stuffed Sweet Potatoes recipe looks interesting. I love my slow cooker and I also love sweet potatoes. Thanks for the post. Your idea is an interesting one.
Good evening Kevin,
I never had a slow cooker in my life. Then I met Michael from the U.S. and he moved to Spain in Aug. 2016. We went to buy a slow cooker here and he has made some nice meals with it. I am not able to buy Jackfruit here yet but who knows in a few years I might. It is probably best to try and have a little Jackfruit grow here but will have to take it inside during winter time.
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Great Post! My mom always raves about Jackfrut, but I have never tried it myself. I am quite shocked at how good it is for you, and to top it off it is a very strong plant that is not fussy when it comes to maintenance, Its almost like nature saying “here, eat this!” The amount of fiber and low carb percentage makes this a dream for diabetics.
It is also so versatile, in that it can be used as a sweet or savory ingredient. It is like natures perfect fruit! I also really enjoyed the planting video at the end. I am getting into gardening so this was a nice touch.
Good evening Renton,
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There you see, your Mother knew it all the time. I sometimes think I should have listened more often to my Mother also. In case you really get to planting a Jackfruit let me know how it goes. I also seriously think I should have a tree on my farm.
Very informational post. The more I see posts with information like this, the more I believe we have all we need to solve all kinds of problems like world hunger and polution here just waiting for us to get picked up. Isn’t this also the fruit they call the worlds smelliest fruit I think it was called Durian?
The next time I’m somewhere I can purchase it I’ll definitely try it.
Good afternoon Rogier,
The Durian is considered the biggest stinker in the fruit family, the Jackfruit does not have that reputation luckily.
Yes, Mother Nature, ever so wise, provides all we need. We, humans, always think we can do it better. We started to make man-made foods and our health disappeared down the drain.
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Growing jackfruits to help feed more people in the world is a great and doable endeavour. Having spent my first several years in the tropics gave me the opportunity to eat ripe or cooked young jackfruit. My favorite is the young jackfruit cooked in coconut milk and mixed with shrimp or crab meat.
As these trees can produce a lot of fruits per year it can definitely help in feeding a lot of people.
This article is well written, very informative and useful. The techniques offered in growing them are straightforward and easy to follow.
Thanks for the great share!
Good afternoon Joe,
Honestly, that recipe makes my mouth water. Young Jackfruits cooked in coconut milk. What a great idea, I am a fan of coconut milk and have it every day together with 3 spoonfuls of coconut oil. To then add shrimps and crabmeat, it sounds yummy. Do you also put a little curry?
I would love to try and grow one on my Spanish farm. With Global Warming, we will get a rise in temperature of some degrees and perhaps the Jackfruit will like it here.
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This sounds like a very interesting fruit that I have never heard of. Any kind of fruit is usually good for you. I see that it has a lot of fiber and it is mostly made up of water. My first thought when reading this was, what does it taste like, which I see you have answered. That does sound very interesting since I do like mango, apple, banana and pineapple. I wish I could try a piece, it is one thing to be told what it tastes like but another to acually taste it for yourself.Have you tried it? If you have what are your thoughts on the tase?A lot of different vitamins and antioxidants and full of fiber, sounds like a very healthy fruit.
Good afternoon Shy,
You know I live in the south of Spain and on the local market, I have not seen the Jackfruit yet. Over the years, I live here since 1981, many unusual fruits have appeared, so the day will come for sure that I can also buy it here. My neighbor planted 200 mango trees many years ago. They did beautifully for a couple of years. Then one night it got close to 0C and they all died. He has now planted avocados and they are a tic more tolerant.
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Wow, what I read really sounds revolutionary to me. Finding a solution to world hunger sounds fantastic. I’ve never heard of Jackfruit before. From the text, I conclude the fruit is very large. What I like is that it can be grown anywhere, and the best part is that it has so many nutrients. I would like to find out more about this.
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Jackfruit is an amazing fruit with many health benefits. It adapts well to different places and can be used in a big variety of recipes. Mother Nature helps us to stay healthy and there is no need for artificial foods which harm our health.