Jackfruit is an exotic fruit you may have heard about, but have you ever eaten it or cooked with it?
Here is everything you need to know about this fruit: What is it? Where does it come from? How do I use it?
Jackfruit is a fruit, but it’s probably most widely known as a surprisingly tasty meat alternative. When it’s harvested, young the unripe fruit is starchy and hard, great for vegetarians and any #MeatlessMonday meals you want to make. Ripe jackfruit is sweeter and can be used in desserts and other dishes. Some people have described the taste as being similar to Juicy Fruit gum.
Jackfruit is an incredibly versatile plant full of fiber, protein, potassium, calcium, and iron, making it a healthy addition to your diet.
Jackfruit grows abundantly in subtropical and tropical climates in countries like India and Thailand. Some people even see the humble jackfruit as a solution to worldwide food insecurity. Jackfruit trees are perennial and require far less maintenance and upkeep than other crops like corn and wheat.
Jackfruits are the largest tree fruits in the world, and individual jackfruits are also rather large, some growing to weigh 100 pounds.
Now for the fun part: cooking with jackfruit. You can eat it fresh, but it also tastes great in curries, soups, and especially tacos. It’s commonly used as a substitute for pulled pork.
Cooking with jackfruit is easy. Nyree Zerega, a plant biologist at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden, says, “You treat it like you would any other starch—give it the flavor you want it to take on.”
You may be able to find fresh jackfruit locally, or look for jackfruit products online.
Try these entree and main course recipes:
For the sweeter side of jackfruit, give one of these dessert recipes a try:
Many of the recipes you’ll find online are from food bloggers based in Asia, but don’t let their ingredient lists discourage you. If you can’t find an ingredient locally, you can usually make a suitable substitution.