Like the durian, the jackfruit has a strong, distinctive odour that's not always appreciated by those in its immediate vicinity. What is it? A large fruit with thick, rough skin that, when cut open, reveals segments that hold large edible bulbs surrounding a seed. The bulbs - the part that's eaten - range in colour from yellow to orange; the texture is crisp-tender and not juicy. A mature jackfruit can weigh up to 50kg. Where is it grown? In the tropical climates of Southeast Asia, India and the Caribbean. What to look for: it's highly unlikely you'd want to buy a whole jackfruit; it's almost always sold after being cut into segments, with the bulbs prised out and their seeds removed. Because the jackfruit is so large, it can be sweet and fragrant at the stem end, where it ripens first, and under-ripe at the other. If possible, sniff the segments you're thinking of buying. They should have a strong but pleasant smell. A faint fragrance means the fruit is under-ripe (although it can still be eaten, usually cooked) and a fermented smell indicates the fruit is over-ripe. How is it available? Fresh, frozen, canned, dried into 'chips' and made into juice and alcohol. What else? The seeds are edible. They can be boiled, roasted or stewed. The jackfruit skin exudes a sticky latex that's difficult to remove, so use vegetable oil to coat your hands, knife, cutting board and anything else that may come in contact with it. How to use: fresh jackfruit is delicious eaten with sticky rice and drizzled with thick coconut cream. For a refreshing summer soup, chop the jackfruit and serve with chilled coconut milk mixed with pureed mango or papaya. If you want an iced dessert, stuff halved jackfruit bulbs with a small scoop of coconut ice cream, then sprinkle with toasted desiccated coconut and freeze until firm. For savoury dishes, under-ripe jackfruit can be made into chutney by cooking it with palm sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, fresh chilli, garlic and shallots. Under-ripe jackfruit can be stir-fried with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, lots of black pepper and thinly sliced pork. In Vietnamese cooking, jackfruit is made into a sharp, refreshing salad. Julienne the jackfruit bulbs and mix with fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, shallots, chillies and sugar. Add peeled boiled shrimp, roasted peanuts and fresh coriander.