If you’ve never heard of Jackfruit, you’re forgiven – but it’s about time you learned. This relative of the breadfruit family hails from Asia and other tropical climates, and is known to many vegans and vegetarians as nature’s “vegetarian meat” option. On the outside, this prickly and giant fruit looks a lot like durian, but on the inside, the texture is surprisingly similar to that of shredded chicken. Nutritionally-speaking, this fruit contains plenty of protein, vitamin A and C, calcium, fibre, and iron, and it’s also light in sodium and low in calories, and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.
How do you use it?
There are literally countless ways to use this magic ingredient, since it can be used in pretty much any way. All you have to do is rinse and drain the ingredient (particularly if you buy it pre-packed or pre-cut rather than in the whole fruit form), but once you’ve got that uniquely fleshy interior, you can flavour and prepare it practically any way you want. Add in BBQ sauce, chilli, zaatar, Mexican or chipotle spice blends, Adobo mixes, or even sweet treats, and you can use it in anything from burritos to stews and sandwiches. It can also be used in tacos, in “crab cakes”, or in pot pies, or as stuffing for stuffed vegetables and loaded sweet potatoes. Chuck it on top of pizzas or into spring rolls, or make chili or loaded nachos with it – it can even be used, in chunks, to create “fried chicken” or “ribs” style dishes thanks to its meaty texture.
Raw jackfruit, like durian, is banned in airports and in airplane cabins – but thankfully, you can find it on shelves at Spinneys stores. It’s the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, and it grows so abundantly (one single tree can produce up to 250 fruits in a year) it’s also be touted as a great answer to solving hunger problems in some parts of the world. The wood from the jackfruit tree is also used to create a variety of furniture, while the roots have been used in a number of medicines. The seeds can also be made into flour.