Jackfruit may look like durian on the first glance, but a closer look will reveal their differences. The world’s biggest fruit has smaller thorns and they're not as sharp as durians. We can hold a jackfruit in our hands without worrying its skin will prick ours. The only problem is that it's heavy; the whole fruit can weigh up to 100 pounds. A gigantic size for an edible tree fruit.

Jackfruit is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia, which grows on the bark of the tree. Ripe jackfruits can be eaten raw, while unripe ones can be cooked into many kinds of dishes.

In Indonesia, ripe jackfruit is used to make a traditional compote “kolak”, tossed into es campur (a fruit based dessert), or turned into jackfruit chips. The raw fruit is cooked into sayur nangka (lit. jackfruit soup) or gudeg, a specialty dish from Jogja. Vietnamese people use jackfruit for chè, a type of sweet dessert, and for pastry fillings. In India, ripe jackfruits can be eaten alone or with rice.

Not only the fruits are versatile, but the seeds are also edible. In Indonesia and India, jackfruit seeds are boiled or roasted, and eaten as snacks. Jackfruit seed is a good source of vitamin B1 and B2, and it contains 6.6 g of protein per 100 serving (fresh seeds). [source] A raw jackfruit is richer in potassium than a banana, which is 448 mg per 100 g serving (a banana only has 358 mg). [source]

Preparing a jackfruit can be a bit time-consuming, though. One may spend an hour or two to prepare it. To cut the fruit, we need to cover our hands and the cutting tool (can be a large knife or a machete) with a lot of cooking oil. This is to prevent the glue-like substance from sticking to our hands and knife.

We’ll cut it into halves, and collect the bulb-like fleshes out from inside the skin. There’ll be stringy membranes which cover the fruit bulbs and we need to remove them to make it easier to pick out the fruits.

The smell of ripe fruits may come out too strong for some people, but it’s a way more tolerable than durians’. It’s not that bad, actually. If one can stand the scent of durian, it will be easy to tolerate jackfruit aroma. Ripe fruits come in yellow or orange color. There’s also a jackfruit variant which bears pink-colored “bulbs”.

Ripe jackfruits rot fast, so it’s not wise to store it too long--even if we put them in the fridge. Outside its native lands, jackfruit is sold dried or canned in many Asian supermarkets in the United States and Australia. Fresh fruits can also be obtained in some places. If you have some of them today, why not try to make this fried jackfruit with chocolate sauce?