Jackfruit. What the heck is it? Someone may have told you it’s a great meat substitute. Someone else might have said it’s a tasty, sweet snack. So, who’s right? Well, that’s the tricky part, they’re both right!
What Is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is like no other fruit you’ve ever seen. It grows in tropical areas and is indigenous to India and South Asia. Jackfruit is the world’s largest tree fruit — typically weighing between 10 and 25 pounds, but can weigh as much as 80 pounds! It’s green and spikey outside, and smooth and “white-ish” inside.
What Does Jackfruit Taste Like?
One of the confusing things about jackfruit is that it has two very different tastes and textures depending on if it’s ripe or pre-ripened.
Pre-ripened (“young”) jackfruit is used for cooking. It has a “meaty” consistency and very little flavor. However, it absorbs the flavor of the seasonings and sauces it’s prepared in.
Ripened jackfruit has a sweeter, tropical fruit taste — like a combination of mango, pineapple and banana. It also has a similar texture to a banana.
Is Jackfruit Healthy?
Jackfruit is high in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and magnesium. It also offers calcium, iron and a good amount of fiber. Even though it’s touted as a “meat substitute,” it has very little protein. To keep the health benefits, be sure to check that the fruit is packaged in its own juice or unsweetened water. Jackfruit is also low in calories so it could aid in weight loss.
How Do You Prepare/Eat Jackfruit?
Do you want to go to the store, haul home a 20-pound fruit, cut it open and remove the seeds? Me neither! Luckily, we buy canned or pre-packaged jackfruit instead. Look for them in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Some pre-packaged jackfruit brands include The Jackfruit Company and Upton Jackfruit.
You can eat raw, ripened jackfruit as a snack or add it to a dessert or smoothie. Pre-ripened jackfruit can be cooked and added to a variety of dishes. Once cooked, it takes on a consistency similar to pulled-pork. You can make vegetarian pulled-pork sandwiches, tacos, stir-fry — the possibilities are endless. Check out some jackfruit recipes.
Jackfruit can be a fun way to incorporate more fruit into your diet, as well as increase fiber and potassium — which most Americans are lacking. Since it’s not a great source of protein, make sure to include another source of protein throughout the day to meet your daily needs.
Looking for another healthy way to jazz up your meals? Check out the latest in veggie noodles.