Jackfruit is a fruit that grows up to 100 pounds on large trees in Malaysia, Thailand and other Pacific Rim countries. The fruit rind discourages predators with its prickly cones, probably one of the reasons along with its foul, ripened smell that the jackfruit is overlooked by some as a viable fruit to consume. However, other cultures prize the fruit, eating it raw or cooking it and serving it as a vegetable.
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Boil Unripe Fruit
Pick a green jackfruit. When jackfruit ripens, it turns yellow and gives an onion-like smell. Green jackfruit doesn't have a bad smell and cooks well.
Coat the knife and your hands with vegetable oil. The unripened jackfruit leaves a gummy residue; oil prevents the knife and your hands from sticking to the slices.
Slice the jackfruit. Either quarter the jackfruit and slice wedges from each quadrant or slice rings through the jackfruit lengthwise to create disks. The seeds sit in the flesh surrounding the core like petals to a flower.
Boil a pot of water and add 1 tsp. of salt.
Put jackfruit slices in boiling water until they become tender, about 10 minutes for 1/4-inch-thick slices. Drain the water.
Cut the flesh from the rind and serve as a side dish for meat or add to stews or curries.
Cook Ripe Fruit
Rub the knife in oil to prevent sticking.
Extract the core, also called a bulb, from the flesh. This will create a rotten smell, so it should be done outside or the discarded fruit portions should be cleaned and removed from the kitchen immediately.
Pour coconut milk into a large pot and bring it to a boil on high heat.
Place the bulb in the boiling milk and cook it for 20 minutes.
Drain the bulb from the milk. Collect the milk in a container and allow it to cool. The milk will congeal, becoming an orange custard. Slice the bulb and serve as a garnish for the custard.