Learn all about Jackfruit and why the new tofu is so healthy
You don’t like tofu, seitan or other “vegetable meat”? Alright then, that’s not a problem at all. Just let me tell you all about Jackfruit.
If you do not know it yet, then you are in for a surprise, as its taste and consistency are more reminiscent of meat and also contain many nutrients.
The jackfruit is popular in tropical countries such as Sri Lanka and India and has always been a staple food there. In America, we also know it as such and it currently experiences a boom in the food industry.
And not necessarily as a sweet snack, but as a meat substitute. If you want to eat less meat or eat vegan and are looking for a variant for pulled pork or burger, you can go for jackfruit instead of meat.
Vegan “meat” from the largest fruit in the world
Jackfruit fruits are up to 3.3 feet long and weigh approximately 44 pounds. Even smaller fruits usually have about the size of a melon!
On the up to 61 feet high jackfruit trees, the fruits grow directly on the tree trunk, not on branches. It is characterized by its nubby, hardshell with a yellowish-green color, which changes to brownish-yellow with increasing maturity.
Under the skin lies their pale yellow flesh, which looks very similar to that of pineapple. You can even consume its kernels. In Sri Lanka, they ground them into flour, or people simply snack on them as they’d are.
Like chicken meat – therefore super versatile in the kitchen
Fruit as a vegan meat substitute? What sounds strange at first, actually works. Because their flesh is particularly tender and slightly fibrous and, thus, creates a very similar mouthfeel when eating.
In contrast to the ripe fruit, whose taste reminds of pineapple and banana, unripe fruit does not harbor a sweet flavor.
The consistency of the unripe jackfruit is similar to juicy chicken meat and has hardly any taste. This makes it the perfect candidate which offers the ideal conditions to take on the taste of meat.
Once you add the typical spices, such as salt, garlic, paprika powder and other herbs, you can barely detect a difference. Because even with meat it is often the spices that we taste and make up the actual savor.
Very clever! – “Pulled Pork” becomes “Pulled Jackfruit”
The jackfruit has not been on the US markets available to buy for very long yet, but it has already made a career.
Pull and marinate it with smoky BBQ sauce, for example. Then serve it as a “pulled pork” in burgers or tacos, and you will have only happy and satisfied family members and guests.
It is also great for vegan cutlets. Plus, you can even fry it and use it for Asian curries or sliced meat.
The ripe fruit is also incredibly versatile – whether pure for snacking, in fruit salads, pureed with fruits and/or frozen sorbet.
Tip: If you were lucky enough to get a fresh jack fruit, then you are best off to make sure that your juice is very sticky and use gloves.
Lots of nutrients, few calories
In terms of its nutrient content, the unripe jackfruit is more comparable to vegetables. It is low in calories (22 calories / 100 g) and free from fructose.
In addition, it contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, vitamin C, beta-carotene and fiber. It is, therefore, sometimes referred to as “vegetable meat”.
Important note for vegans and vegetarians
The riper the jack fruit becomes, the more its aroma is reminiscent of fruit because part of the starch it contains turns into sugar.
Therefore, the fully ripe fruit provides slightly more calories (70 calories / 100 g).
In contrast to seitan, a common vegan substitute for sausages, burgers, etc., the jackfruit is gluten-free.
Would you like to try the jackfruit?
In the meantime, immature jackfruit meat is available vacuum-packed, frozen or pickled in brine/syrup and canned in health food stores and drug stores. With a little luck, you can discover fresh specimens in Asian or organic food stores.
Do you prefer organic jackfruit for ecological reasons? Many products already come from organic farming – the plant is robust and the yield is high anyway.
Overall, their ecological balance is, therefore, better than that of meat, even though the fruits have a fairly high CO2 pressure due to their long transport route from the tropics.
What are you thinking right now? Did I awaken your curiosity, now that you know all about Jackfruit? Well, if you have already tried it, then let us know your impressions in a comment below.
We, and our other guests here, would love to hear your experience with jackfruit. If you haven’t given it a try yet, then you should because Jackfruit is much healthier than red meat in the long run.
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