Holy Cow! Monster Jackfruits Invade Jackson Heights
These jackfruits are the largest specimens seen recently; they're considerably larger than the full-size watermelons on the right.
Usually, they're about the size of footballs--that is, if you can find them. Jackfruit is a tropical fruit much more often experienced in canned form than fresh. In the can, it's usually cut into big chunk and preserved in sugar syrup of various concentrations. The plant is thought to have originated in Malaysia or Kerala, India.
But fresh jackfruits have become much more available in Chinese and Indian supermarkets around town, especially in Flushing, Jackson Heights, and Manhattan Chinatown. Beloved of vegetarians, the fruit is starchy and tart, like a cross between a potato and a green mango. Sweetened, it's used in custards and desserts; unsweetened in curries and other savory vegetable dishes. Jackfruit is particularly good at absorbing flavors from gravy.
Although large, the specimens in the photograph, available at Ananda Bazaar in Jackson Heights, are comparatively light in weight, averaging five pounds (around $10) apiece. Larger jackfruits can attain weights of 90 pounds. Watch out when they fall!
Ananda Bazaar 37-49 74th Street Jackson Heights, Queens 718-779-1110
Ananda Bazaar is open 24 hours.
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