Jackfruit is a genuinely unique tropical fruit that’s been making the rounds online lately. It looks super intimidating though! You’ve probably seen this huge, spiky, green fruit while you were strolling the aisles of your supermarket and wondered “What the heck is that?” Trust me, while it looks intimidating, there’s nothing to be afraid of. And there’s lots to gain by incorporating it into your diet!
What is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is an exotic, tropical fruit that’s native to South India. One single jackfruit can weigh up to 100 pounds and can grow to be as long as 3 feet. And it grows on trees! That has to be one strong tree, am I right?
How to Prepare Jackfruit
The edible parts of jackfruit are the flesh and fruit pods. Depending on the level of ripeness, jackfruit can be prepared in sweet or savory dishes.
When ripe and eaten raw, jackfruit has a very sweet flavor. The flavor and sweetness is comparable to mangoes or pineapples. Cutting up a fresh jackfruit can be quite the hassle though! If you can’t find pre-cut jackfruit in the produce section and have to buy the fruit whole, check out this video for tips on how to extract that delicious fruit!
Do you love eating raw, ripe jackfruit but looking for a recipe to try? Try this Jackfruit Tapioca Trifle with Muscovado and Coconut or this Tropical Jackfruit Smoothie.
Unlike ripe jackfruit, unripe jackfruit has almost no flavor by itself. This means it can easily take on the flavor of whatever sauce or seasoning you prepare it with. Jackfruit has a very stringy texture once its cooked.
In fact, because of its texture and neutral flavor, jackfruit has cropping up as a healthy meat alternative in the plant-based food scene. It’s common for people use it when they’re making plant-based versions of pulled pork or other meat-based meals like tacos, burritos, curries, and stir fries. If you want to shake things up in the kitchen and use this unique fruit as a meat alternative, you can find young, unripe jackfruit canned in your grocery store or online. Just be sure it’s not preserved in syrup because it will add an off putting flavor to your dish.
Want to try swapping meat out for jackfruit for dinner this week? Check out this Vegan “Pulled Pork” Sandwich or this East Jackfruit Curry.
Nutrition Benefits of Jackfruit
Not only is jackfruit unique, versatile in the kitchen, and delicious – it’s also really good for you! One cup of fresh, ripe jackfruit has only 157 calories, 34 grams of (net) carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and only 1 gram of fat! That same serving also has 42% DV (Daily Value) vitamin B6, 30% DV vitamin C, 16% DV vitamin B1, 16% DV potassium, and 15% DV magnesium.
Jackfruit is also loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids. These antioxidants play an important role in protecting you from things like oxidative stress and inflammation. They may also prevent the development of chronic diseases, help manage blood sugar, and help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.