Food Trend: Jackfruit
Every now and again a healthy food trend comes along that takes us all by surprise. Chia seeds, quinoa, and poke bowls are all examples of healthy foods that quickly became all the rage and we’re still enjoying them consistently. Jackfruit has taken the stage recently and it seems as though this larger than life fruit will be incorporated into our meals and our diets for a long time to come.
So, what is jackfruit? Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, and it can reach as much as 80 lbs in weight, 90 cm in length, and 50 cm in diameter (even bigger than a watermelon). The jackfruit is a “multiple fruit”, composed of hundreds to thousands of individual flowers, and it is the fleshy petals that are eaten. These fruits are native to parts of south and southeast Asia, and they mainly grow in tropical lowlands. The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous and is a source of dietary fiber.
You’re probably wondering what jackfruit tastes like and how to incorporate it into some healthy meals. The flavor of a ripe jackfruit is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. Ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet, with subtle flavoring. It can be used to make a variety of dishes, including custards, cakes, or mixed with shaved ice. Young, unripe jackfruit has a mild flavor and distinctive meat-like texture and it is often compared to poultry. Jackfruit is often used to make meatless sandwiches and it is a popular vegetarian and vegan meat alternative.
If you’re interested in trying out some recipes that use jackfruit as meat alternative, we think this vegetarian pulled pork dish is a great place to start:
2 cans young green jackfruit packed in water
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1. Drain the jackfruit and rinse well under cold water. Using your fingers, break the pieces apart of the jackfruit apart; set aside.
2. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil, add the onion and jackfruit; sauté until the onion is slightly caramelized
3. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to sauté over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir often because brown sugar will burn easily.
4. Once cooked, use a fork to press the remaining larger pieces of jackfruit so that the pieces fall apart and resembled the fibers of cooked pork.
5. Poor pulled pork sauce over the jackfruit, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 minutes.