Last Updated on 3rd February 2023 by Pauline Loughlin
This may be a fruit that most people are not familiar with, but jackfruit is a nutrient rich, large tree fruit with a lot of health benefits and culinary potential.
What Is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit can be found in tropical climates and is native to southern India. It is the largest tree fruit in the world, making it easy to serve on its own as a meal compared to much smaller serving sizes of something like bananas or apples.
Jackfruit belongs to the Moraceae family of plants, which would include the breadfruit, figs, and mulberries. The outer skin can be either green or yellow and has a spiky texture to it. This very large fruit can weigh as much as 80 pounds.
One of the more interesting tidbits of information about this fruit is that its texture is similar to that of shredded meat. So, vegetarians will often use jackfruit as a meat substitute.
The flavor has been compared to pineapple, apple, or banana, with people saying it is similar to a combination of several fruits. If you’re wondering what does jackfruit taste like, hopefully that gives you some idea.
How to Prepare Jackfruit
Because this is an exotic tropical fruit, you may have some concerns about health risk or allergies. While some people are allergic to jackfruit, namely those who have an allergy to Birch pollen, jackfruit is safety for most people. It can be consumed either cooked or raw.
How to eat jackfruit? You want to prepare it first, slicing it in half and taking out the seeds and fruit pods. This can be done either by hand or with a knife. Some people prefer to wear gloves when handling the jackfruit and preparing it, because the interior fibrous area can be very sticky.
There’s no real trick for how to cut jackfruit. Most people just slice it in half and then pull out the seeds and fruit pods. Those seeds are edible, however, you may not just want to toss them, since they can be boiled or roasted and then seasoned to make a tasty snack or added to a more complex dish like hummus.
When Is Jackfruit Ripe?
As the jackfruit ripens, it becomes sweeter, making it ideal for dessert. It’s a better fit for savory dishes when it’s not quite ripe.
There are a few ways to tell when jackfruit isn’t right. If it has a strong fruity smell, that’s a pretty good indicator that it’s ready to eat. Unripened jackfruit very faint smell.
As jackfruit ripens, it will start to turn more yellow than green and may even turn a slight brownish hue hue. Ripened jackfruit will also be soft when you touch it. If it’s very soft, it may be rotten, but it shouldn’t be hard when you touch it.
You can listen to the jackfruit as well to determine whether it’s ripe. When you give it a thump, it should have a hollow sound when it’s ready to eat.
Cut jackfruit will have a juicy looking, yellow interior flesh. On the outside, the eyes or spikes will be larger when ripe than they are on unripened jackfruit.
How to Cook Jackfruit
Jackfruit can be used in soups, curries, oatmeal, and yogurt. Because of its meaty texture, it makes for a good addition to tacos or burritos. The method for how to prepare jackfruit will depend on what you’re going to do with it.
Let’s say you want to make your jackfruit taste like shredded meat, like pulled pork. You can do that by cooking it in oil after you’ve shredded it.
One common bit of advice about how to eat jackfruit when you’re trying to give it a meaty texture is to drain it out completely.
Then, shred it and cook it in a skillet with whatever sauce you want to use. Barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, and ketchup are popular choices when making a meaty jackfruit dish.
Cook on a low heat, allowing the mixture to simmer until all the sauces of the sword but the jackfruit looks slightly moist still.
Then, transfer your jackfruit over to a baking sheet and drip some cooking oil over it. You can use coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil. Place it into an oven preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 20 minutes.
You’ll know that jackfruit is done cooking when the edges have a crispy texture to them.
Where Does Jackfruit Grow?
Because this is a tropical fruit, it may not be easy to find in your local grocery. Some stores carry canned jackfruit, which can store for a long time anywhere in the world.
Otherwise, you’re more likely to find jackfruit in tropical environments, and it naturally grows in southern India where it’s a staple of the local diet.
Why Add Jackfruit to Your Diet?
If you’re looking for a reason to make jackfruit a regular part of your diet, you may be interested to know that it’s great for blood sugar control. This fruit has a comparatively low glycemic index.
That index measures how fast your blood sugar starts to increase after you’ve eaten something. The high fiber content of jackfruit helps your body to avoid spikes in blood sugar and ensure slowed digestion.
If you’re looking to use jackfruit to help manage diabetes or blood sugar levels, then talk to doctor. Your medical professional will be able to tell you more about how jackfruit and similar foods can help you manage your blood sugar and improve your overall diet.
The high protein level in jackfruit makes it a good meat substitute, and it also provides some benefits for blood sugar control. Several studies have shown that adults using jackfruit extract experience better blood sugar levels then those who didn’t.
Jackfruit also has very little fat and is a good source of several nutrients, including Vitamins A and C, copper, and manganese, so why not add it to your diet?