NATURES BEAUTY - JACKFRUIT

Also known as jak or nangka, jackfruit is a member of the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family. It is native to Sri Lanka and India, where it was first cultivated about 6,000 years ago but is nowadays regarded with disdain as a poor person’s fruit. The jackfruit tree has hundreds of individual flowers and fleshy petals. As the largest tree-borne fruit, one jackfruit can weigh as much as 80 pounds and be 35 inches long. The Jackfruit Company (www.thejackfruitcompany.com) says a single jackfruit tree yields two to three tons...

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NATURES BEAUTY - LILY

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NATURES BEAUTY - SQUASH

Is squash a vegetable or a fruit? You would probably call a zucchini squash a vegetable, but you would most likely call a pumpkin a fruit. The definitive answer, from a botanical view, is squash are fruits because they contain the seeds of the plant.  Squash are some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America more than 10,000 years ago. The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means…..

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NATURES BEAUTY - JACKFRUIT

Still looking for new fruits to try in the new year? Put jackfruit on your list.


Also known as jak or nangka, jackfruit is a member of the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family. It is native to Sri Lanka and India, where it was first cultivated about 6,000 years ago but is nowadays regarded with disdain as a poor person’s fruit. The jackfruit tree has hundreds of individual flowers and fleshy petals. As the largest tree-borne fruit, one jackfruit can weigh as much as 80 pounds and be 35 inches long. The Jackfruit Company (www.thejackfruitcompany.com) says a single jackfruit tree yields two to three tons of fruit each year. There are two varieties of jackfruit, varikka and koozha. They are distinguished by the characteristics of their flesh. The varikka variety has a slightly hard inner flesh when ripe, and the inner flesh of the ripe koozha is soft. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh. It also grows in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. The tree’s bark has an orange color that was traditionally used as a dye for monks’ robes.


With a sweet, fruity aroma, reminiscent of pineapple, mango and banana, jackfruit is delicious and very versatile. It is eaten raw out of hand or cooked in dishes such as stew or curry. The traditional Southern India breakfast dish called idlis combines jackfruit and rice wrapped in jackfruit leaves. The juice is used in various drinks, and the edible seeds are either boiled or roasted with salt and hot chilies. The seeds are doubly nutritious because they contain potassium, calcium and iron.

They are also ground into flour. Jackfruit candy is made by grinding jackfruit into a paste, spreading it over a mat and letting it dry in the sun. Another popular treat is sliced jackfruit mixed with shaved ice. Jackfruit has been described as a main meal and dessert all rolled into one. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber and is sometimes used as a substitute for meat.


Jackfruit is quite nutritious. It is high in magnesium, vitamins A, C and B6, antioxidants and other cancer-fighting phytonutrients, including lignans, isoflavones and saponins. Jackfruit contains no saturated fat or cholesterol and is low in sodium and calories. Some of its healthy benefits include an ability to enhance immunity, fight free radicals and improve digestion. One cup of jackfruit contains 15 percent of the daily recommended value of magnesium. Magnesium is important because it helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, while helping the body build strong bones. In addition, one serving of jackfruit contains about 6 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, making it a great resource to help stave off osteoporosis. So jack up your adventurous palate and give jackfruit a try. Because of its size, abundance and ability to grow in tropical climates, jackfruit may one day become a food staple around the world. You will most likely find it in an Asian supermarket or at Whole Foods.



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TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler