I brought the 23 pound behemoth home and spent the rest of the day scouring the Internet for jackfruit recipes. Not being able to decide on one, I instead watched videos of how to break down and process it.
The initial cut. Some people said to cut it crossways, others longways. I went for long.
The rind is hard and thick, and there is a tough fiberous core I had to cut through. Note the rags ringing the cutting board. There is a reason for my madness. Jackfruit is full of latex. For those of us who were in theater, it was pretty much a bit thinner version of the liquid latex we used for makeup. After my hands started sticking to everything and leaving slimy snail trails of rapidly hardening rubber, I grabbed gloves.
The inside is bright yellow and white, with the pods of fruit surrounded by white stringy fibers. The fruit pods have large seeds, and all of it is edible except the hedgehog-looking rind.
It took me about 3 hours to completely break this thing down. There was a lot of it that went in the compost, as the white 'rags' turned out to be a pain to separate, and like potatoes started to oxidize nearly immediately even though I had it in a bowl of acidified water. It is supposed to make an acceptable vegan 'pulled pork', but I decided it just wasn't worth the hassle.
I ended up with five quart freezer bags of fruit, a fair amount seeds, and a little bit of rags to experiment with. This is a full size commercial baking sheet 26 by 18 inches. The fruit is about two by three inches, and fleshy. It reminds me of thick yucca flower pods. The seeds are covered in a white membrane, I boiled them for 20 minutes to get it off and make them ready to use.
Time for the taste test. The fruit smelled like a mix of different things, mostly a generic tropical fruit smell. Several people have likened it to Juicyfruit Gum, although I didn't get that. I mostly smelled a pineapple/guava scent, very sweet. The taste was not like anything I have had before, again, a general 'tropical' taste, exactly like you would expect a fruit whacked off of a palm-type tree would taste like. A bit blandish, and very sweet. I look forward to trying it in recipes. The seeds have a taste and texture of mealy boiled potatoes, I'll be using those later in a curry.
It was in interesting experience, but I can safely say I most likely will not buy one of these again. I'll post when I actually use it in something. First up: jackfruit margarita!