Learn everything about jackfruit including its nutrition, health benefits, how to cut, how to eat, and 12 popular jackfruit recipes. This tropical fruit has increased in popularity as a healthy vegan meat substitute, and you can use it in all kinds of recipes like jackfruit tacos, sandwiches, dips and curries. They’re so delicious that you won’t believe they’re completely vegan!
If you haven’t had jackfruit, you are missing out! It may seem a bit intimidating at first with its unique look. Learning how to cook it is actually quite easy, and the more you eat, the more you’ll love it!
The upripe green jackfruit has been increasingly used as a plant-based meat alternative due to its “meat-like” texture when cooked. A typical serving has about 2 grams of protein, compared to 6-7 grams of protein in an ounce of meat, poultry, or fish. In this post you’ll find all the information on what jackfruit is, what it tastes like, where to buy, and 12 delicious jackfruit recipes.
What is Jackfruit?
Also known as jack tree, jackfruit is a species of tree in fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family. It originated in southwest Asia and now grows in more countries including Africa and Brazil. A mature jack tree can produce up to 500 fruits per year.
The fruits have an oblong shape, green color with a bumpy exterior, and a strong, unpleasant odor. On the inside, there are many light-yellow plump bulbs which are sweet and delicious. There are 2 common ways to eat this fruit:
- Green jackfruit (unripe/young) – often used in savory dishes.
- Yellow ripe jackfruit – often eaten like any other fresh fruit.
Jackfruit is loaded with nutrients and has many impressive health benefits:
- It’s packed with protein, minerals and other nutrients such as Vitamin B and Potassium.
- Rich in thiamin and riboflavin, and helps to boost energy. It also keeps your eyes, skin and hair healthy.
- It’s loaded with fiber, which helps improve digestion.
- Jackfruit seeds contain compounds that help to prevent contamination with bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses.
What Does Jackfruit Taste Like?
Unripe Jackfruit (green jackfruit) has a neutral taste that’s slightly sweet. It’s not really fruity, or meaty. The texture is similar to shredded meat like pulled pork once cooked. It’s not chewy, but soft and melts in your mouth.
Ripe jackfruit is very sweet, and the taste resembles a cross between apple, mango and pineapple with a unique stinky smell.
According to USDA, 1 cup of sliced jackfruit contains 157 calories, about 2 grams fat, 38 grams carbs, 2.8 grams of protein, and 40 milligrams of calcium.
Canned Jackfruit and How to Prepare it for Cooking?
Both green and ripe jackfruit are available in canned forms. If you are preparing a savory dish, use green jackfruit. After you open the can, you’ll find wedges of jackfruit in brine or water. First, drain and rinse the fruit thoroughly. There’s a tough core at the tip of each wedge, and you can pinch it off. Then shred the rest by gently pulling it apart. (You can cut the cores into small pieces as the canned cores and seeds are edible). Now your jackfruit is ready to be cooked. It’s important to season it up as it’s usually bland with sour flavor on its own.
For the ripe jackfruit soaked in syrup, you can eat them straight from the can, or make it into smoothies. They’re very sweet and bold in flavor.
BBQ Jackfruit Tacos
This is my favorite way to cook jackfruit, and it will fool any meat lover! To make jackfruit like pulled pork, use canned green jackfruit in brine (NOT syrup).
Start with heating the skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil, minced garlic, and sliced onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add jackfruit, all the seasonings, and water. Stir fry to coat and reduce heat to low-medium. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
Serve them over vegan tortillas for a complete vegan meal! It’s a great make-ahead recipe, as the jackfruit “meat” keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to eat, just reheat it in a microwave or skillet, and then serve it in warm tortillas.
Pro Tips: The canned green jackfruit is usually quite sour, it’s important to add enough seasonings and honey to balance out the sour flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between Jackfruit and Durian?
While both jackfruit and durian have horny rind, jackfruit is much bigger than durian. Jackfruit has a rough pebbly shell while the durian has a spikey shell.
On the inside, jackfruit is more of a sweetish fruit, while durian has a smooth, sweet but pungent taste.
How to Cut Fresh Jackfruit?
Cutting jackfruit is very easy. Place it on a clean cutting board and cut the fruit in half lengthwise using a large sharp knife.
Then cut each half into quarters. Remove the center (or the core) of the fruit and peel the outer layer back to loosen the pods. If they’re ripe, you can remove the seeds and serve immediately.
Where to Buy Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is usually available in Asian grocers and sporadically in other grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. The canned jackfruit is more accessible than fresh ones. If you can’t find any, try ordering online (Amazon).
How to Cook Jackfruit Tacos
For the tacos:
- 8 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 avocado sliced
- shredded red cabbage
- lime wedges
- Drain the brine and rinse the wedges thoroughly.
- Pinch off the hard cores at the tip of each wedge. And then pull apart the rest of the wedge using your hand. (You can discard the cores or cut them into small pieces. Both the cores and seeds are edible).
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add minced garlic and sliced onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions start to soften.
- Add shredded jackfruit, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce, honey, and water.
- Stir fry to coat and reduce heat to low-medium. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid, add the rest of the BBQ sauce, and stir fry for about 1-2 minutes until the sauce has thickened. (Taste test the sauce, add more BBQ sauce and honey if needed)
- Serve them over tortillas together with avocado, shredded red cabbage and cilantro for a complete meal!
- The cooked BBQ jackfruit can last up to 3 days in the fridge. You can eat it cold or reheat in the microwave.
12 Jackfruit Recipes
- Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker BBQ Jackfruit Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Canned Jackfruit Recipes
- Jackfruit Carnitas
- Easy Jackfruit “Chicken” Quinoa Bowls
- Easy Vegan Jackfruit Curry
- Mexican-style Pulled Jackfruit Tacos
- Jackfruit Chips
- Pulled Jackfruit BBQ Burger with Fennel Slaw
- Slow Cooker Jackfruit Tacos
- Pulled Jackfruit Enchiladas
- Shredded Jackfruit Veg Carnitas Recipe