Fruit or Vegetable?


Photo by Leigh Klotz under CC BY 2.0
Is a Jackfruit a Fruit or Vegetable?
Botanically, this is...
A Multiple Fruit! (A type of fruit)
Culinarily, this is...

Jackfruits are the largest fruits on the planet, with some fruits individually reaching as much as 120 pounds. This is partially explained by the botany of the jack tree. Botanically, each fruit is actually derived from hundreds of smaller fruits which begin next to each other. As they all grow, they merge together into one massive fruit, making it a multiple fruit.

Culinarily, ripe jackfruits are definitely fruits. The word “fruit” is literally in the name “jackfruit”. They’re extremely sweet with one of the highest sugar contents of any fruit, even accounting for their size. They have a very fruity, rather tropical, flavor. The flesh is either eaten raw or made into a dessert. It’s a typical fruit.

However, unripe jackfruits are used as a vegetable. They’re often made into curries or vegetables stews. The unripe jackfruits have less of the sweet flavor and a tougher flesh, which is almost meat-like. Although lacking the nutrition of meat, they’re often used as a substitute for such and act as a staple food throughout many Asian countries.

How can something be both a fruit and a vegetable?