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How to Properly Cook a Jackfruit

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 10, 2022

Jackfruit has surged in popularity as a great meat substitute for vegan meals. Today, you can find jackfruit in many vegan recipes, such as tacos, enchiladas, chili, barbecue sandwiches, and curry bowls. It’s a wonderful fruit that can take on many savory flavors when prepared properly. Not only does jackfruit taste delicious with seasonings and have a great meat-like texture, it packs plenty of health benefits for your plant-based lifestyle. Preparing jackfruit is quite simple; all you need is a good recipe and fresh jackfruit from the grocery store. 

What is Jackfruit, and What Are its Health Benefits?

Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is native to South India, Southeast Asia, and South America. It grows in tropical climates near the equator, and is the largest fruit tree in the world. In fact, one fruit can reach up to 100 pounds. The outside has a thick, bumpy rind, while the inside of a ripe jackfruit has sweet flesh, much like a mango. 

While a ripe jackfruit is sweet, unripe jackfruit has a mild flavor and can be used in savory dishes. It easily takes on the flavor of spices, sauces, and seasonings, which makes it a perfect meat substitute for vegan recipes. Because jackfruit does not grow in North America, most jackfruit at the grocery store is canned. You can still get high-quality canned green jackfruit that’s ready to be prepared.

Jackfruit is low in calories and high in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. A 100-gram serving of jackfruit (about a half-cup) contains 95 calories, 2 grams protein, and 3 grams of fiber.

You’ll get plenty of key vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin C, multiple B vitamins, folic acid, magnesium, and potassium. You’ll also get a dose of flavonoids and lignans, which reduce inflammation in the body. Jackfruit has also been used in medicine for centuries for its supposed antimicrobial and antifungal properties, although there are no current studies that verify those uses. 

How Do You Properly Cook Jackfruit?

Jackfruit can be used in many different vegan recipes as a meat substitute. It has a wonderful, hearty texture that breaks apart like shredded meat. Jackfruits are normally very heavy and not widely available in non-tropical climates, so the easiest way to prepare jackfruit is by using canned young jackfruit. 

When preparing jackfruit, you should drain and rinse off the brine, then let it dry. You may have to cut off the tough core from the fruit (or peel it off with your hands). Once the fruit is dry, you can gently pull it apart into smaller pieces. You’ll get a soft, stringy texture that resembles shredded meat. 

Depending on what your recipe calls for, the next step is to add flavor to your jackfruit. The quickest way to cook jackfruit is in a skillet. You can marinate the jackfruit in your favorite sauce and pan-fry with other veggies for 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce is absorbed. If you want to add some crispiness, you can place the cooked jackfruit on a baking sheet, drizzle with avocado oil, and bake for 15-20 minutes. You’ll get a nice crunchy texture on the outside of the jackfruit. 

Jackfruit can also be prepared in a slow cooker for dishes like stews, curries, chili, and vegan “carnitas”. You can use the canned green jackfruit in a slow cooker recipe and let it sit for several hours, much like a slow cooker recipe with meat. 

Vegan Jackfruit Recipes to Try

There are plenty of savory vegan jackfruit recipes that are perfect for lunch or dinner. Jackfruit goes especially well with Mexican and Indian dishes, because it can absorb the flavorful spices and rich sauces. 

Believe it or not, you can also make delicious desserts with jackfruit. It’s a beautifully versatile fruit that can take on sweet flavors, too. With most jackfruit dessert recipes, you can puree the fruit to make puddings or creams. There are also many classic Indian dessert dishes that use jackfruit.

Vegan Jackfruit Desserts:

FAQs

What does jackfruit taste like?

Ripe jackfruit has the consistency of mango or kiwi and tastes very sweet. Unripe jackfruit has a soft, stringy texture and is nearly flavorless, making it a perfect blank canvas for absorbing other flavors in recipes.

Is jackfruit keto?

Jackfruit is not keto-friendly, since it is high in carbs. For those trying to stay in ketosis with a net carb consumption of 20 to 30 g per day, a single serving of jackfruit contains about 20 g of carbs.

Is jackfruit good for digestion?

Jackfruit is rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, which means it can help ease your bowel movements. Because it is loaded with dietary fiber, it acts as a bulk laxative and helps prevent constipation.

 

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