Jackfruit is one of the latest vegan health trends and is becoming increasingly popular as a meat alternative. Here is some information for those who are new to jackfruit:
Jackfruit is a member of the same family as the common edible fig tree, but the two are very dissimilar. A tropical tree native to southwest India, jackfruit produces up to 200 fruits a year. Individual fruits are very large and can weigh up to 80 pounds. Both ripe and unripe fruits are used as food.
Unripe jackfruit has a meaty taste that is compared to poultry and is often used as a meat substitute. Jackfruit has a subtle, naturally sweet flavor when ripe. Most people say the taste includes flavors of pineapple, mango, banana and apple. The fruit has a distinctive aroma described as a combination of pineapple and banana. The seeds are edible and their flavor is often compared to Brazil nuts – sweet and milky. Roasted seeds produce a chocolate aroma.
Jackfruit is consumed throughout Asia in a variety of ways. Indonesians mix the fruit with shaved ice, while in India, the fruit is steamed with rice wrapped in jackfruit leaves. Seeds are also used in curries. Ripe fruit is sliced and eaten alone, dried for storage or and deep fried to make a kind of cracker. When ground and made into a paste, it is spread thin and dried in the sun for use as a candy. Jackfruit is typically canned or eaten fresh, and sometimes juiced.
Jackfruit is high in carbohydrates, especially when ripe, but contains only a small amount of protein. A 3.5-ounce serving has about 95 calories. The two major vitamins in jackfruit are vitamin C and folate, but it also contains several other B vitamins such as niacin and riboflavin, as well as vitamin E. Jackfruit provides only small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, but is a good source of potassium. Although jackfruit is low in protein, it is the meaty texture has been described to mimic pulled pork.
Opening jackfruit is very different compared to other fruits. To open a jackfruit, begin by oiling your hands, cutting surface and knife with vegetable oil – jackfruit sap is very sticky. Cut the fruit in half and then into quarters. Remove and discard any excessively soft or rotting parts (the rest of the fruit is still safe). Cut out the inedible core and discard. Pull apart or slice the flesh.
Now that you’ve been introduced to jackfruit, try using it as a meat substitute in your next recipe! Visit us at Famous Foods to try a variety of jackfruit products including canned organic young jackfruit and flavoured jackfruit.