Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Avantika. Avantika Wonders, “Why is the jack fruit known as the miracle fruit?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Avantika!
Do you have a favorite fruit? Some kids love apples. After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?
Others prefer oranges, because they're unique. Can you think of a word that rhymes with orange? We can't either!
Bananas are cool, since they can be used as a pretend telephone. We love pineapples, too, because they stand tall, wear a crown, and are sweet on the inside.
If you live in tropical areas around the world, including places such as India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Philippines, Jamaica, Brazil, and other countries across Southeast Asia and Africa, you may have another favorite: jackfruit.
Have you ever tasted jackfruit? Many of our Wonder Friends may have never even heard of jackfruit, let alone tasted it. You'll probably hear more about it soon, though, since it's becoming more popular all around the world.
Jackfruit is unique in many ways. For example, it's the largest tree fruit in the world. It grows on the branches and trunks of trees that can grow to be over 50 feet tall. That's a good thing, because jackfruit themselves average between 30-50 pounds each and the largest can even grow to be 100 pounds or more!
From the outside, these large fruits don't look at all appetizing. Their green covering is both prickly and leathery. Inside, however, you'll find hundreds, if not thousands, of fleshy petals surrounding large seeds.
Jackfruit has a musky odor that some compare to overripe fruit. Its taste is sweet and tropical, with hints of mango, pear, pineapple, and peach. Some compare the taste of jackfruit to Juicy Fruit chewing gum.
Some people are hailing jackfruit as a new miracle food. Lower in calories and carbohydrates than rice or corn, jackfruits pack a powerful nutritional punch. The fruit is a good source of vitamin C, while the seeds are filled with protein, potassium, vitamin B, calcium, and iron.
Jackfruits can be eaten raw, dried, roasted, or added to a variety of foods, including soups, chips, jams, juices, and even ice cream. The seeds can be roasted, boiled, or ground into flour.
Even the trees they grow on can be used in multiple ways. Their leaves are eaten by goats and other farm animals. Their bark can be used to make orange dye. The trees even make a sticky latex substance that can be used as glue. The timber can also be used to make furniture or musical instruments.
Much of jackfruit's growing popularity comes from its increasing use as an alternative to meat. When jackfruit is young and unripe, it has a consistency similar to chicken or pork. It also has a neutral taste that adapts to whatever sauce or seasoning it's paired with.
For example, when unripe, its somewhat-stringy texture can be paired with barbecue sauce to make a vegan barbecue pulled "pork" sandwich that is delicious. You'll also find jackfruit being used as a meat alternative in many other foods, such as tacos, burritos, and stir-fries.