Project Jackfruit – What percent of a whole jackfruit is the edible flesh?

Experiment Question

What percent of a whole jackfruit is the edible flesh?

1.Introduction

Before we get into the details, I wanted to briefly answer a few questions for those of you who have never heard of this delicious but somewhat intimidating looking fruit.

1.1 What is a jackfruit?

A jackfruit is a tropical fruit with a spiky hard shelled exterior, and it happens to be one of the largest fruits in the world! It is native to India and Sri Lanka, and it is very popular in South and Southeast Asian cuisines. The jackfruit grows on trees and can reach up to 35 kg (80 lb) in weight and 90 cm (35 in) in length.

1.2 Where can I get jackfruit?

While less common in North America, you can buy frozen pieces of jackfruit and small pre-peeled pieces in many Asian grocery stores. Some stores will even sell larger unpeeled sections of the whole jackfruit which I was able to buy. I bought my half piece at H-Mart, but I have also seen pieces sold at T&T and Osaka Supermarkets (both owned by the same people).

1.3 What is the taste and texture of a jackfruit?

This is a tricky one. I’ve heard some people describe the taste as mildly sweet, with a subtle bubble gum like flavor. I would say the flesh is on the dry side, and is not juicy. It has a tropical taste, perhaps somewhat similar to a mango but not as strong or acidic. It is definitely hard to describe and unlike any other fruit I have had. So, the only way to really experience the taste and texture is to buy it and try it yourself!

2. The Experiment

2.1 How the Experiment Happened

I recently discovered jackfruit however only bought small pre-peeled pieces packed in a Styrofoam container. They were only mildly sweet, and I felt unsatisfied afterwards because I didn’t get very much and I was craving more.

A few weeks later, I spotted whole pieces of jackfruit being sold at H-Mart (local Korean supermarket) however the smallest piece was 13.4 lbs. As you can imagine, I was hesitant about buying the whole piece (see intro photo) because I had no idea how to cut it and extract the edible flesh from the rest of the fruit. However, after debating it with my friend Erika and consulting the produce guy, I took the plunge and bought it!

I had invited my friend Nick over for dinner that evening. He is currently living in San Francisco but was visiting Vancouver (where he is originally from) over the holidays. When he spotted the jackfruit, he was thrilled because he really likes jackfruit which he discovered during his travels in Asia. We decided that we should cut it that evening to enjoy the delicious fruit, however the only minor issue was that neither of us had ever cut a jackfruit before.

We decided to document the jackfruit extraction process while answering an important question about the ratio of edible jackfruit flesh to inedible waste material. We also decided that we would create this blog, and that the first blog post would be us sharing the results of our jackfruit experiment with the help of photos and video.

As stated in the introduction, the experiment questions was :

  • What percent of a whole jackfruit is the edible flesh?

Before starting the experiment, we decided to guess on the correct answer to see who would be closer when all was said and done. Our guesses are below:

  • Nick’s Guess – 70% of the whole jackfruit would be the edible flesh (by mass)
  • Curtis’s Guess – 50% of the whole jackfruit would be the edible flesh (by mass)

Photo Caption: Nick with the piece of wrapped half jackfruit (13.4 lbs)

2.2 The Tools we Used to Complete the Experiment

  • Chef’s knife (Steps 1 and 2)
  • Cutting board (Steps 1 and 2)
  • Various sized containers for holding flesh and waste material (Steps 2 and 3)
  • Pairing knife (Step 3)
  • Our hands (Step 3)
  • Plastic bag for the waste material (Steps 1, 2, 3)
  • Kitchen scale (used to answer experiment question only)

2.3 The Jackfruit Extraction Process (see videos and captioned photos below)

Step 1 – The Rough Cut: Starting with the half piece of jackfruit, cut it into quarters and then eighths

Photo Caption:  Initial cut – cutting piece in half

Photo Caption: Half jack fruit – cross section

Photo Caption: Quartered sections

Step 2 – Fruit Exposure: Cut the inner flesh and between the fruit and outer rough skin/spiky shell, which liberates the yellow fruit

Photo Caption: Removing rind between centre of jackfruit and flesh

Photo Caption: Cutting and separation of inner rind

Photo Caption: Inner rind and outer shell/skin have been removed – some seeds have been cut

Photo Caption: After fruity exposure – ready for final fleshy freedom (next step)

Step 3 – Fleshy Freedom: Once the fruit chunks (yellow flesh) have been freed from the white rind/tentacles,  you can 1) use a pairing knife to remove remaining rind and seeds, or 2) use Nick’s patented all hands method (see video below). We also discovered an effective hybrid method using a combination of the above techniques where the pairing knife was used to cut the tops and bottoms of the pod, then we used our hands to remove the seed. If it is a full pod, then an incision was required to remove the seed.

Photo Caption: Using pairing knife to remove remaining rind from flesh (method 1)

IMG_2518.jpg

Photo Caption: Making incision to remove seed from pod (hybrid method)

Photo Caption: After Fleshy Freedom – colander full of final flesh (spoils of victory)

Photo Caption: After Fleshy Freedom – bag of tentacle waste and outer rind/skin

3. The Answer to the Experiment Question

Photo Caption: Moment of truth to answer experiment question

After completing the three step extraction method described above, we finally had a container of the edible jackfruit flesh that we could weigh and compare to the initial weight of the jackfruit. The final results are documented/reported in the video below.

***The answer to the experiment question is 31%.***

  • 31% of the total weight of the jackfruit is the edible, yellow flesh.
  • 69% is the remaining white, inedible rind/tentacle material.

So, I win this round. I guessed 50% and Nick guessed 70%. However, we were both pretty far off!

For the record, it took us about 2 hours to complete this experiment from start to finish. The most time consuming step was by far Step 3 (Fleshy Freedom) because we had to separate the white rind from each individual pod. However, hopefully by following the instructions in this post you will be able to extract the edible flesh must faster than us. In the end, I can assure you it will be worth it for the delicious jackfruit goodness!

One final note on the low production/video quality, this was our first experiment attempt with very little advanced planning (as you may have noticed from the videos). However, expect significant improvements to the video quality and camera work going forward! Thanks for bearing with us on this first one!

Enjoy!

-CJ

4. Bonus Content – Other Interesting Observations

  • Interestingly, the jackfruit tasted sweeter the next day after sitting in the fridge overnight. The yellow flesh somehow “ripened” in the fridge after being extracted from the rest of the fruit. I’m not sure if this is actually a thing, but both Nick and I noticed the sweeter taste the next day.

4.1 Bonus Photos

Photo Caption: It looks like mushrooms…or alien tentacles

Photo Caption: Hard work done (I took this photo right after Nick stubbed his toe on my couch. He is lying there not from our hard work, but in pain from his stubbed toe. Being the good friend that I am, my first reaction was to take a photo to document the situation)

4.2 Credit

This first blog post came together with the help of two of my best friends: Nick and Erika.

Nick got me interested in trying jackfruit during our travels in Japan and of course helped me complete this experiment as one of the stars in the videos. Erika tried jackfruit with me for the first time, encouraged me to buy the 13.5 pound jackfruit, and inspired me to start this blog.

I’d also like to thank the produce guy working at H-Mart who gave me advice on which jackfruit piece to buy (the most yellow one).

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