Let’s start with some real talk about jackfruit. It’s huge. It’s heavy. It takes a long time to prepare. But it’s so, so good. So if you have the time, and the inclination… or if you’d just like to look at one, come along for the ride.
What is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is an enormous tropical fruit that has a thick, fibrous texture. It’s about the size of a large watermelon, and it weighs about the same too – but it has hard, prickly skin. It’s probably most famous for its use as a meat substitute. (If you cook it down, the fruit has a stringy texture that’s analagous to shredded beef or pork.) When the fruit is ripe, you can eat it raw. (It tastes like a not-too-sweet combination of a banana and a pineapple.)
Jackfruit is available in many stores in canned form (either in brine or in syrup) and it’s frankly easier to cook that way. But if you’re like us, you like the adventure of cooking something crazy… and you hate the idea of starting off any recipe where the starring ingredient comes from a can. We got a whole one from Melissa’s Produce , a distributor that is increasingly sending them to in grocery stores. Note: If you want it but don’t see it, ask your produce manager.
How Do You Cut A Jackfruit?
Now you’re ready to dive in. You just need a knife, a plastic-wrapped cutting board, and plastic gloves. Gloves? Yes, the fruit has a sticky resin inside that can be hard to clean off. It’s best if you start out this project with a little protection.
First, using a sharp knife, cut thick cross-sections of the fruit so that you have several large discs to work with.
Next, cut a line through one of the discs into the center, and carefully cut out the hard round center core.
Open up the circle, and you have a nice long strand of flesh and pith to work with.
The main part you’re going for is the thick, golden pods that encase the seeds. You’ll want to pull out the seeds and also pull away the membrane that surrounds the seeds, as well as the white pith. (Note that you can eat the seeds! More on this in a moment.) You will end up with pretty golden curved pieces that looks like pouches – and taste faintly sweet.
What Does Jackfruit Taste Like?
Raw Jackfruit is sweet.It tastes like a combination of mango and banana, with a fibrous texture more like pineapple. When it’s cooked, those fibrous pieces hold up to cooking. That’s why it makes a great substitute for pulled pork.
The smell is also faintly sweet, but the pith and skin may have an odor. That’s why, when you’re ready to store it in the fridge, store it in a sealed container. (As opposed to just wrapping it in plastic.) You can also freeze jackfruit once it is prepared and properly sealed.
What Do You Do With Jackfruit?
Now, what to do with this golden abundance? We’ve got some great choices for you.
And remember how we said that you can use the seeds? It’s true. Here’s a tasty hummus made with jackfruit seeds:
If you’ve created something delicious with fresh jackfruit, let us know! We’re always looking for a good project.
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