Well, maybe you do and maybe you don’t. Once introduced, you won’t forget this worlds largest fruit. It’s called Jackfruit, or more personally, Jack. Jack is no doubt, huge, unique, a little rough around the edges and pungent. It’s flavor is similar to a very ripe combination of banana, pineapple and papaya. The strong, sweet aroma is part of it’s allure. How prized aged, pungent cheese are t0 the French, so is jack to many in India and Southeast Asian countries.
Jack’s yellow/orange fruit sections are held tight amongst the fruits fibrous strands. The fruit is sweet and usually preferred just a bit crunchy. Although, some do prefer it softer to experience it’s full flavor and pungency , Jack can be eaten in almost any stage from raw, to pungent ripe, to dried. If you get your hands on the hold of a whole, un-sectioned Jack, make sure you wear some gloves and use vegetable oil liberally over your hands and knife. Jack’s hidden defense mechanism is the sticky , resinous sap that is usually used for glue in his native tropical homeland. Once the gluey sap sticks onto your hands or knife, it’s hard to get it off. He can be a tough one to gut out, but once you do get a hand on those precious fruits, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Aside from eating it fresh, Jack is also fantastic alongside a great cheese plate of soft to semi-soft, pungent cheeses. The fruit is just sweet and fragrant enough to balance and compliment some of the richest, ripe cheese. When in season, we get fresh Jack at our local Vietnamese fruit markets and the fruit is always a hit on the dessert cheese menu. Jack can also be found canned and as dried fruit chips at your local Asian grocer. In almost any form, the flavor still always come through as uniquely Jack.