Jacked Up on Jackfruit: 5 Ways to Go Meatless with Jackfruit
Jacked Up on Jackfruit: 5 Ways to Go Meatless with Jackfruit

Jackfruit is popping up everywhere, with vegetarians especially embracing its nutrient-rich, tropical goodness. Jackfruit is the world’s largest tree fruit (up to 100 pounds) and has impressive versatility. Green or yellow, they have spiky skin and emit a less-than-tantalizing aroma at times. But once you get inside, you’ll appreciate the sweet, fruity smell and delicious tastes.

You can eat it ripe or unripe, and its seeds are edible, too. Ripened jackfruit is sweet and can be eaten raw or in fruity types of desserts. Unripe jackfruit has a neutral taste, making a great base for meatless, savory dishes.

Nutritional Profile
Jackfruit has been used since ancient times as a medicine and for good reason; this superfood is loaded with nutrition. It’s also known to help with blood sugar levels, especially important for those with diabetes.

One cup equals:

  • Calories: 155
  • Carbs: 40g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Vitamin A: 10% RDA
  • Vitamin C: 18% RDA
  • Potassium: 14% RDA

How to Prepare Jackfruit
To prepare jackfruit, you need to rub the fruit with cooking oil and wear gloves to avoid getting your hands and knife sticky with sap. Cut in half, and then remove fruit pods. Pull out the seeds and save them to roast and use in other recipes.

For easier prep, you can also buy canned jackfruit or ready-to-eat packages. In cans, you’ll have a choice of either green (unripe) jackfruit that’s packed in water or brine, or yellow (ripe) jackfruit that’s packed in syrup and ready to eat as is or in desserts.

One caveat for those with allergies: if you are allergic to birch pollen or latex, you should avoid jackfruit.

Once prepped, you can use the unripe jackfruit in savory dishes, especially to replace shredded meats since the texture is similar.

Recipe Ideas for Jackfruit
Pulled pork or chicken recipes are perfect for jackfruit substitutions. Some great uses include slow cooker barbeque, pulled “pork” sandwiches or Jamaican jerk “chicken” wraps. Also, the fruit works well in tacos and nachos. The neutrally flavored unripe jackfruit will soak up the seasonings and sauces, perfectly mimicking the original.

Ground beef recipes are also good vehicles for jackfruit. Substitute the tropical fruit into chili, lasagna or meatballs in place of the hamburger.

Pot pies or pot roasts also work well with jackfruit. In these recipes, you’ll want chunks of the fruit rather than the shredded version.

Other jackfruit options include incorporating the fruit into gyros, “sushi” bowls or “crab” cakes.