It's not every fruit that gets its own international symposium.
Then again, the jackfruit is not your typical fruit. It's got a distinctive, musky smell, and a flavor that some describe as like Juicy Fruit gum.
It is the largest tree fruit in the world, capable of reaching 100 pounds. And it grows on the branches — and the trunks — of trees that can reach 30, 40, 50 feet. (Trunk-growing is a good thing because it reduces the odds of a jackfruit bopping you on the head.)
Jackfruits are also a nutritional bonanza: high in protein, potassium and vitamin B. And, with about 95 calories in about a half a cup, they aren't quite as high-carb or caloric as staples like rice or corn.
Yet the jackfruit is "an underutilized crop" in the tropical-to-subtropical climate where it thrives, says , director of the graduate program in plant biology and conservation at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. In countries like India and Bangladesh, where the jackfruit was once widely cultivated, it has fallen out of favor.
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