What is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is the fruit of the Jackfruit tree, a fruit tree species grown in tropical climates of South Asia. Native to South India, it is part of the Moraceae plant family, which also includes breadfruit, fig and mulberry trees.
Jackfruit has spikey green or yellow outer skin, fibrous inner flesh, and large seed pods. It’s the largest known fruit tree, and its fruit can range from 20lbs up to 60lbs. South Asian populations have used it to supplement their diets in times of drought, as it contains nutritious fiber and is packed with antioxidants.
Five Health Benefits of Jackfruit
1. Jackfruit Nutrition Vs. Meat
When compared to meat, jackfruit is a healthy alternative. While it may not pack the protein punch that meat will, unlike other fruits, it does contain 3g of protein and 2.5g of fiber per serving.
2. Diabetic Friendly: Low to Moderate GI
Despite its starchy carbohydrates, jackfruit is a low to moderate GI food thanks to its fiber content. The high fiber content of jackfruit allows it to be digested slowly by the body, keeping you feeling fuller, longer.
Low GI foods help prevent blood sugar spikes and are important as part of a healthy diet. A recent promising study indicated that leaves of the jackfruit tree might assist blood sugar control.
3. Jackfruit Nutrition: Good for Your Skin
The combination of vitamin C and antioxidants in jackfruit can help your skin stay bright and firm. Vitamin C is the building block of collagen, which helps our skin repair. Jackfruit also contains high levels of both A and B vitamins, which help fight off free radicals that play havoc with your skin.
4. Jackfruit Nutrition: Good for Your Heart
According to the American Heart Association, foods rich in potassium can help reduce blood pressure. A single serving of Jackfruit has 14% of your RDI of potassium, which is essential for a heart-healthy diet.
5. Jackfruit Nutrition: B Vitamins
Jackfruit is rich in B-complex group of vitamins and contains vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid. Like Vitamin C, B vitamins are not produced by the body, so they must be obtained from a healthy diet. Low B6 levels have been linked to anemia and depression.
While many B vitamins are readily present in meats and poultry, jackfruit is a vegan-friendly alternative rich in B vitamins to help you maintain a balanced diet.
Where can I buy a Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a very large, heavy fruit. It’s possible to buy a whole jackfruit in Asian supermarkets; however, it is notoriously difficult to cut. It’s safer and more practical to buy it canned in brine or water. Due to its popularity, it’s often available sliced in vacuum-packed servings from the grocery store fridge.
Another reason to buy canned jackfruit rather than a whole is that it’s infamously sticky. It will cling to your skin and anything else it touches. Gloves and chef-quality knives are necessary to access a whole jackfruit.
Jackfruit Flavor: Ripe Vs. Unripe
If you plan on using jackfruit in a savory dish, unripened green jackfruit is best as it has a neutral flavor that works well with spice and sauces. Its shredded fibrous texture is an excellent meat substitute.
Ripe yellow jackfruit works well with sweet dessert recipes or simply eaten on its own. It has a creamy texture and is pleasantly sweet with flavor notes of pineapple, mango, banana, and apple.
A Simple Jackfruit Recipe
BBQ jackfruit burgers will fool the most seasoned meat eater. It’s a popular option for a family-friendly mid-week dinner. This is a simple burger recipe, but it can be adapted to take any sauce, following the same method.
We recommend coleslaw or fresh salad as a side dish. It will last up to 48hours in the fridge, but cannot be frozen.
- Can of green, unripe jackfruit in water. A 20 ounce can will serve 2 adults.
- Barbeque seasonings
- Barbeque Sauce
- Avocado – ¼ per Burger or Wrap.
- Burger Buns or Wraps
- Drain and rinse the canned jackfruit. If it’s only available in brine, a quick remedy is to rinse the brine off thoroughly using a colander under a running faucet.
- Toss jackfruit in BBQ seasoning.
- In a large skillet, add oil and toss the seasoned jackfruit until lightly colored.
- Add BBQ sauce and a few spoons of water, enough to make a thin sauce.
- Add the lid and simmer on low to medium heat for 25 mins, occasionally stirring. For the last 2 minutes, turn up the heat to high and stir the jackfruit.
- Remove from heat. If required, use 2 forks to break up the jackfruit further.
- Slice and season the avocado.
- Toast the buns or wraps.
- Assemble the burger or wrap with a generous amount of jackfruit, an extra coating of barbeque sauce, and a few avocado slices.
- If you like it spicy, add some chili sauce.
Jackfruit is a great healthy option to have a meat-free dinner without compromising on texture. Don’t let it intimidate you; it’s very manageable from a can and worth trying for healthier burgers or tacos.
Have you tried jackfruit? What’s your favorite recipe? Comment below and tells us your tips: