Jackfruit Day is celebrated on July 4 every year. The tropical fruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, along with being the state fruit of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, India. The fruit has spiky outer skin and is native to parts of South and South-East Asia. Today, the fruit is known as a popular meat substitute for people adhering to a plant-based diet. It is high in vitamins and antioxidants, making it a healthy addition to any diet. Jackfruits are also referred to as ‘jak,’ ‘kathal,’ and ‘chakka,’ among other names.
History of Jackfruit Day
Humans have been consuming jackfruits for millennia. Though no one is completely certain of where the fruit came from, it is believed to be indigenous to the Western Ghats of India. The Jack tree, an evergreen tree, thrives in hot weather and moist tropical climates. The fruit is majorly produced within Asia, though attempts were made to grow the fruit in Hawaii before 1888. The word ‘jackfruit’ is derived from the Portuguese ‘jaca,’ and in turn from the Malayalam word ‘chakka.’ Portuguese naturalist and scholar Garcia da Orta used the English term ‘jackfruit’ in a book he wrote in 1563. As a result of colonialism, the jackfruit has made its rounds across the globe — it is now grown in several countries that used to be colonies of European empires.
The fruit, thus, is used in cuisines across the world in several different forms. Jackfruit can be found in jams, pickles, ice creams, desserts, and all other types of meal preparations. Recently, the Global North has begun consuming jackfruit as a meat substitute due to its meat-like texture when cooked.
The fruit has several varieties, each one fit to deliver a unique gastronomic experience. Ripened jackfruits are said to have a pungent odor that may be intimidating at first — which is probably why many people purchase unripened jackfruits to avoid it — the taste of the fruit is often described as ‘mellow.’ Jackfruit Day was established by jackfruitday.com in 2016 to raise awareness about the fruit and its versatility.
Jackfruit Day timeline
Portuguese scholar Garcia da Orta, a pioneer of tropical medicine identifies the ‘chakka’ fruit as ‘jaca.’
Jackfruit plants are captured alongside a French ship destined for Martinique and are taken to Jamaica.
The first Jackfruit Day is celebrated.
Jackfruit becomes the official state fruit of Kerala, India.
Jackfruit Day FAQs
What is jackfruit called in India?
It is called a variety of names in India, depending on the language — including ‘kathal’ (Hindi), ‘kothaal’ (Assamese), ‘chakka’ (Malayali), ‘phanas’ (Marathi), ‘ponos’ (Konkani), and’ halasa’ (Kannadiga).
Which city is famous for Jackfruit?
Panruti in Tamil Nadu, India is a famous destination for lovers of jackfruit.
Why does Jackfruit taste like meat?
Unripe jackfruit is used as a meat substitute. Because of its unripened nature, the fruit is tasteless on its own and takes on the flavor of its seasoning.
Jackfruit Day Activities
Try eating Jackfruit raw
Jackfruit is enjoyed across the globe raw. This Jackfruit Day, why not give the fruit a try?
Try cooking something with Jackfruit in it
Jackfruit can be cooked in a variety of ways. If you are so inclined, cook something with Jackfruit in it — be it savory or sweet.
Try something with Jackfruit in it
If neither cooking nor eating the fruit raw is your cup of tea, try to find an eatery around you that uses jackfruit as an ingredient and taste something new?
5 Interesting Facts About Jackfruit
The largest fruit grown on a tree
The jackfruit is the largest fruit that’s grown on a tree.
A natural dye
The bark of the jackfruit tree is used to dye the robes of Buddhist monks orange.
It’s part of the Mulberry family
The jackfruit tree belongs to the mulberry family.
They are fruitful
A mature jackfruit tree can yield between 100 to 200 fruits a year.
They have a long lifespan
The lifespan of a jackfruit tree is 60 to 70 years.
Why We Love Jackfruit Day
It celebrates a versatile food source
Jackfruits have been a part of cuisines across the globe. We fully support the celebration of such a versatile and nutritious food source.
It raises awareness about jackfruit as a meat substitute
The fruit is a well-liked meat substitute. Jackfruit Day may potentially introduce the fruit to people looking for a suitable meat substitute.
It’s an excuse to try jackfruit if you haven’t before
Jackfruit is a delightful gastronomic experience. This day is a perfect excuse to try out the fruit for the first time.
Jackfruit Day dates