Scent isn’t just one of the strongest senses tied to memory: it also influences most of our life choices. For example, we often decide whether to eat something or not based on its aroma. If you’ve ever asked someone “what does jackfruit smell like?” and they answer honestly, you might never put this stuff in your mouth. Let’s take a look at some common answers.
What Does Jackfruit Smell Like?
There’s no way to avoid acknowledging this: jackfruit smells absolutely terrible. Of course, since all of us have different olfactory senses and interpret aromas differently, we’ll interpret its stench in our own unique ways. Most people agree that the main reason why jackfruit smells so bad is because of the combination of odors it gives off. There’s a sickly sweetness present, but also an undercurrent of something that should probably have been buried a week ago, Vern…
Have you ever passed by a streetside doorway early on a Saturday morning and got hit with a wave of putrid stench? That’s likely due to a Friday night beer outing gone wrong. The stink of recycled beer mixed with stomach acid is a terrible combination, and isn’t exactly appealing to the nose.
As you can imagine, if someone offered you food that smelled like this and told you that no, really, it tastes awesome, you may be hesitant to try it.
Some people have compared immature jackfruit’s “unique” aroma to gasoline. If you happen to enjoy the smell of a gas station as you pass by, then you may like this scent as well.
If you’ve never used turpentine, you may not be familiar with what it smells like. This paint-removing solvent has a smell that’s quite similar to gasoline, only with a sharper bite. This is more associated with juvenile jackfruit than when it’s ripe.
Related Article: When is Jackfruit Ripe?
Burnt Rubber or Asphalt
Speaking of gas and vehicles, you’re probably familiar with the summertime smell of burnt rubber on hot pavement. Oddly enough, jackfruit can take on a scent something like this as it matures. Some also compare it to the smell of fresh asphalt.
This is a more polite way of saying that jackfruit smells like poop. To be specific, it smells like either a composting toilet or one of those plastic Port-o-Johns that get set up at festivals and outdoor concerts. After it’s been in the hot summer sun for a day or two.
Have you ever opened a bag of onions and discovered that they’d gone bad? If so, you probably remember the gagging fit that occurred afterward. Rotting allium vegetables like onions, garlic, and leeks develop a sickly sweetness as they decompose. That just happens to mirror
Some people smell quite oniony when they sweat, though that largely depends on their diet. There’s a certain unmistakable armpit-like fragrance to maturing jackfruit that can either be appealing or off-putting, depending on your personal preferences. This is sort of like how one person’s pheromones (B.O.) can attract one person but repel another.
Whether you’ve walked past a huge pile of garbage bags by the side of the road or accidentally sniffed your kitchen bin after pulling the bag out, you’ll know how gross this can smell. Once again, it’s that weird “sweet” note accompanied by decomposition that makes one’s bile rise. Much like the smell of jackfruit.
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Although cheese can be quite delicious (especially certain types of nut-based vegan cheeses), some are eye-wateringly pungent. We don’t mean that in a good way, either. The scent that comes off Limburger and various blue cheeses can kick you in the face from across the room. It’s a smell that’s kind of like a pot of pasta with nutritional yeast sauce that was accidentally left on the counter for a week. Or three.
Pet Food Mixed with Gum
Certain types of pet food can smell quite rank as well. This is particularly true for dog kibble and tinned cat food. Some people have compared ripe jackfruit as smelling like pet food with a strong gum side note. Imagine mixing Woofles’ lunch with Juicy Fruit gum and you’ll have an idea of this combo.
Again, this is a polite way of describing a fouler stench, namely that of stinky feet. If you’ve ever had an uncle who could clear a room whenever he took off his shoes, you’ll know what we mean here. It goes along with the stinky cheese note mentioned earlier: pungent, sweet-ish, and wholeheartedly foul.
Does Jackfruit Have a Bad Smell?
Interestingly, the inner flesh of the fruit itself doesn’t smell bad. Instead, it’s the odor that comes off the rind that makes people dry heave. As for whether it’s “bad” or not, that’s really a matter of personal opinion. Some people really like the smell of burning tires or lavender, others don’t.
Why Does Jackfruit Smell So Bad?
Honestly? We don’t know. Jackfruit has a ton of aromatic compounds in its flesh and rind, but scientists haven’t been able to isolate the specific ones that make it reek the way it does. It’s likely that there’s a specific combination of compounds that are activated by heat, but for now, this is an unsolved mystery for us to contemplate.
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What Smells Worse: Jackfruit or Durian?
Durian wins the prize here, but only slightly. That’s because it shares most of the same atrocious scent notes as jackfruit, with the addition of decomposing flesh. Seriously, if you’ve ever visited a morgue or worked with dead bodies in a lab, you’ll recognize the comparison between that smell and a fresh durian.
How to Get Rid of Jackfruit Smell
This depends on where the unholy stench is lingering.
If you’ve brought a jackfruit into the house and cut it up, chances are the smell will linger around your home for a good few days. Your best bet is to open the windows and turn on some fans to get airflow moving around. Once the smell has eased a little bit, you can go nuts frolicking around the space with your favorite air spray, or light copious amounts of incense to cover up any lingering horror.
In contrast, if you made the mistake of storing jackfruit in the fridge and it smells like a Hellmouth in there, you’ll need to take some more drastic measures.
Take everything out of the fridge and wipe it all down with a soapy cloth. Then wash the entire inside of your fridge with dish soap and water. Follow that by spraying the interior walls and drawers with a diluted bleach mixture. 1 part bleach to 10 parts water should be fine. Wipe it all dry, put everything back into the fridge, and put in at least three opened baking soda boxes.
The sodium bicarbonate will help to absorb unpleasant odors that may still be sticking (stinking?) around. Just don’t make that same mistake again.
What does jackfruit smell like to you? Do you find it abhorrent, or oddly tantalizing? How would you describe it? If you’ve never come across it in the wild, you may want to take a trip to a fruit market so you can find out what it smells like firsthand. Then you’ll have your own colorful story to tell your grandkids if they ever ask you this question.