The Jackfruit probably originated in India, where it has been in cultivation for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. It is one of the most important fruit tree species of Southeast Asia. In the Americas, Jackfruit is most commonly cultivated in Jamaica and Brazil.
The juicy membrane surrounding the seed is eaten raw when ripe, and can be cooked or pickled when unripe. In the best varieties it is very sweet, with a flavor that is reminiscent of pineapple and banana. The ripe and unripe fruit is used in the preparation of salads, sweets, juices, ice creams and liquors. The fruit is also dried and eaten. A delicious sweet snack is made with jackfruit, coconut milk and butter. The unripe fruit is also eaten boiled with salt, or eaten dry, like chips. The numerous seeds are eaten toasted or boiled, whole or mashed; also used to prepare a flour. The young flowers are also eaten. All parts of the fruit not eaten by humans serve as an excellent source of nutrition for pigs and cows. The leaves are a great forage, containing 16-18% protein, and large quantities of calcium. Jackfruit wood is comparable to Teak in quality, used in the construction of banisters. In Sri Lanka Jackfruit is cultivated as a hardwood. Jackfruit is also planted as a shade tree for coffee plantations and as a support for black pepper and vanilla. Due to its flexibility, it also serves as an excellent windbreak.
The pulp is high in nutrients containing between 15 – 23% carbohydrates, and is very rich in vitamin A and B, calcium and phosphorus. The seed contains more than 5% protein and 23% carbohydrates.