Do you know how to eat jackfruit? Have you heard of it? Jackfruit, considered an exotic superfood, is a peculiar-looking fruit with a textured green exterior that conceals golden nuggets of flavour. Eating jackfruit is like eating a delicious blend of pineapple, mango and banana. However, there is one catch: it is very challenging to cut open. If jackfruit is new to you, have no fear. We've got some tips and tricks for how to eat jackfruit and cut it like a pro.
What is jackfruit?
Native to Southeast Asia, jackfruit is prized for its wonderful flavour and multiple health benefits. It is the largest tree-born fruit and can weigh up to 80lbs (36kg). Jackfruit can grow up to 35 inches in length and reach a 21-inch diameter.
When consumed ripe it has a wonderful sweet flavour and its seeds may be roasted or boiled (which makes them taste a bit like chestnuts). Unripe jackfruit has a pleasant fibrous texture that lends itself well to vegan dishes such as pulled 'pork' sandwiches and shredded 'meat' tacos.
Is jackfruit good for you?
Jackfruit is a good source of vitamin C and is rich in antioxidants. Low in calories and naturally fat- and sodium- free, it also makes a healthy snack. Don’t neglect the seeds. These little powerhouses are rich in thiamin and riboflavin, as well as containing small amounts of minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium and potassium.
How to open a jackfruit
Before learning how to eat jackfruit it is essential one master the art of opening this tropical fruit. Jackfruit releases a very sticky sap so it is wise to oil the fruit's exterior, as well as all work surfaces and the blade of the knife you will be using. You can also learn how to cut other tropical fruits. After slicing it open you'll need to:
Remove its core with a knife
Then use your oiled hands to pull apart the fruit (which will lie hidden between flowery fibres)
It can be tricky, but with a little practice you'll be able to enjoy the sweet reward of jackfruit's flesh. Watch this informative video from Wendy Phan to see it in action:
How To Eat Jackfruit
As with any fruit, jackfruit is best enjoyed fresh while it is sweet and juicy. It may be added to smoothies, mixed with yogurt or even chopped and sprinkled over ice cream. Jackfruit is best prepared either boiled or roasted. It can also be pre-cooked: boil it for around half an hour to soften up the flesh for sautéing. Jackfruit seeds are delicious and considered a delicacy in some South-East Asian cultures. Roast them in a pan or on a charcoal grill and crunch on them while they’re still hot for a delicious smoky flavour. This recipe from Savoryspin even turns them into a curry.
Unripe jackfruit is great in savoury preparations such as these vegan carnitas from Yup it's Vegan.
If all this talk of jackfruit has given you a craving for tropical fruits in general, how about incorporating some of them into savoury dishes? Try a twist on a Spanish classic with this fresh and tasty mango gazpacho recipe. If Asian flavours are more your thing, then this simple Thai green papaya salad with prawns is packed with goodness.