Since going vegan, jackfruit has become one of my favorite meat substitutes to use. Why? Because it’s versatile, easy to use and accessible.
Are you curious about jackfruit, but not sure where to start? Allow me to introduce you to a few of my favorite (and most popular) jackfruit recipes you and your whole family will LOVE!
What is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a type of fruit derived from the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family that is most popular in Asian countries. It bears the largest fruit of all trees, some weighing as heavy as 120 pounds! A single jackfruit tree can bear up to 500 fruits per year. A fresh jackfruit is typically oval shaped, light green in color with a rough, lightly spiky outer texture. The flesh of a jackfruit is light yellow in color.
Where Can I Find Jackfruit?
Jackfruit can be found in a number of places, but two places you’re sure to find it are at Trader Joe’s and your local Asian-market. Trader Joe’s sells canned jackfruit while your local Asian market will likely sell both canned (in brine and in syrup) and fresh.
Should I Buy Fresh or Canned Jackfruit?
I get this question all the time and my answer remains the same. For the recipes below- canned, canned, canned, CANNED! Canned jackfruit is the best way to fool all of your meat- eating friends and family members. However, you should be aware that canned jackfruit can be found in brine or water and in syrup.
As you may have guessed, you’ll want to go for the jackfruit that’s in brine or water. On the other hand, if you were making a dessert or something sweet (like a cake, smoothie or custard), jackfruit in syrup would be most appropriate.
What’s wrong with fresh jackfruit? Fresh jackfruit is great, but it’s sweet and fruity in taste. Not to mention buying fresh jackfruit requires a heck of a lot more work in terms of preparation. Have you seen one of those great big jackfruits? If not, have a look at one of these I found in Bali!
How Do You Cook Jackfruit?
I’m so glad you asked! Cooking jackfruit isn’t hard at all, just takes some getting used to. If you’re a meat eater, think of cooking jackfruit the same way you would if you were cooking a new form of meat for the first time (like lamb chops, idk?!)
You’ll notice that most of my jackfruit recipes involve a similar prep style. I typically drain the water or brine from the can, remove the seeds and trim off the hard parts so that I’m left with the stringy bits that resemble shredded meat.
Is the trimming and separation of all the parts necessary? No, but I think this step helps to achieve that meaty texture. So if you’re in a rush and don’t feel like removing the seeds or trimming the hard parts, you can leave them as is. The pieces you’ll find in a can of jackfruit are completely edible and can be consumed as is.
What Does Cooked Jackfruit Taste Like?
The cool thing about jackfruit is that it has the ability to taste like a variety of things! But if I had to choose, I’d say it most often tastes like chicken, but a much softer version in terms of texture.
In addition, jackfruit also makes for a good pulled pork substitute. By now, I’m sure you’ve probably seen lots of recipes for pulled BBQ jackfruit (like the one I have below).
Is it necessary to soak Jackfruit?
No, it’s not necessary to soak jackfruit before cooking, but letting it sit for a bit in a marinade (like in this recipe) will help it to absorb some flavor.
My Favorite Jackfruit Recipes:
Okay! So now that I’ve given you a little introduction to jackfruit, it’s time for me to share some of my favorite (and most popular!) jackfruit recipes with you! Give some of them a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below!