What the heck is Jackfruit?

I have been aware of Jackfruit for quite awhile but didn’t take an interest in it. To be honest, when I see the headline, “The New Superfood”, I ignore it.¬†For the last 2 months I have seen Jackfruit mentioned in nearly all of my food related newsletters. Then, when shopping at our local natural foods market, I saw a package of marinated Jackfruit in the cooler by the tofu. I decided it was meant to be ūüôā I needed to research this fruit, write about it & cook with it.¬†


The ultimate place to learn about this fruit is The Jackfruit Company. Their March 9th, 2016, Blog:  What Is Jackfruit Anyway? (Jackfruit FAQs) is a good place to begin.

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The Jackfruit Company

 WHAT IS JACKFRUIT?

The question gets asked all the time, since jackfruit is a word that has many arching a brow in curiosity. Considering we’re The Jackfruit Company, we love explaining what jackfruit is, where jackfruit comes from, how to cook with jackfruit, and why jackfruit is so nutritious.

Jackfruit is believed to have originated in Southern India thousands of years ago, but is now widely cultivated in tropical regions around the world: SE Asia, South America, Australia and the Caribbean where it has been enjoyed both in ripe and young forms.  Jackfruit grows on trees (aptly named jackfruit trees!). A single jackfruit tree can produce 2 to 3 tons of fruit per year, with a single jackfruit growing up to 80 pounds big! Similar in growing style to bananas or coconuts, jackfruit is harvested straight from the tree. Very impressive!

Jackfruit is a drought-resistant, high-yield crop that enables us to provide substantial income to local families, who, up until recently, had no real means of monetizing the jackfruit already growing abundantly on their land. This company is pretty amazing. Click HERE to see the video about its founder & why she started this company.

Our mission at The Jackfruit Company is to twofold: to help more people all over the world eat this fiber-rich, nutrient-dense fruit (a single serving offers 20% of your daily fiber recommendation!) and generate new income for local farmers in India, our partners who source the young jackfruit.

What‚Äôs more, jackfruit is recognized as a high-fiber whole-food meat alternative that will shape the future ‚ÄĒ and change, for the healthier, the center of the plate.¬†Jackfruit is a good meat substitute¬†because it is soy-free & gluten free. Most meat substitutes are made with soy & or gluten (seitan for example).¬†

So, now that you know all that (high five!), let‚Äôs answer some of your other burning questions about jackfruit.¬†Click on the link above to see the other FAQ’s.¬†


I wondered about its nutritional value. I copied this data from the FDA website. For the complete nutritional breakdown click HERE.  

Values per 1 cup sliced, raw, edible portion. This information appears to be for the ripe fruit. You will see the difference on the product label below.

  • Calories: 157
  • protein: 2.84 gm
  • Total Fat: 1.06 gm
  • Fiber: 2.5 gm
  • Sugar: 31.48 gm¬†This would be fructose in the ripe fruit.¬†

There is a big difference in young green Jackfruit & ripe Jackfruit nutritionally. Most recipes are with the young green fruit. According to my research young green Jackfruit is low on the glycemic scale. This is because it is higher in fiber & lower in sugar than the ripe fruit. The fiber slows down the effect of the sugar. 


This is a product from The Jackfruit Company with the nutritional facts. Click on the image to go to the product for a larger view & information.

The Jackfruit Company

I bought the product shown above,¬†BBQ Jackfruit,¬†at our local natural food store, Wild Rivers. They sell this one & Tex-Mex Jackfruit.¬†I am not a BBQ sauce fan but my husband is. Neither of us have ever had a pulled pork BBQ sandwich, so this was a real test!¬†I asked two of the people who work there if they had tried it. John, who is a meat eater, said he had but wasn’t impressed. He said it didn’t taste like pork to him. Marina, a vegetarian, said that she loved it.¬†

I followed the recipe on the website for BBQ Jackfruit Sliders, & served it on an organic whole wheat hamburger bun with lettuce. We paired the sandwich with corn on the cob, grilled in our toaster oven & a fresh salad. 

We both really enjoyed it. The BBQ flavor was not overpowering & it tasted sweet & smokey. We didn’t think it tasted like pork, but being vegetarians for most of our lives, we are not good judges of what pork tastes like ūüôā I have never liked the texture of meat but for some reason I liked the texture of this. I would definitely purchase it again. One reason is because it is already cooked & you just heat it up. It was an easy, tasty, & fast meal to put together.

I am looking forward to trying the Tex-Mex flavor next in a taco or with roasted veggies as a fajita. 

***Just before I published this post I bought the Tex-Mex Jackfruit. I used their  Tex-Mex Jackfruit Taco Recipe on The Jackfruit Company website. I also had fresh tomatoes, avocado & salad mix to add to the taco. It was fast & easy to make. Took about 15 minutes because I sauteed the onion & peppers first. The flavor was excellent & we both enjoyed it. We will definitely be having these again. I am very excited to have these soy & gluten free options.

You can buy fresh jackfruit at an Asian market I am told. I have never seen the fruit & we don’t have an Asian market here. It can also be found in cans. They are either packed¬†in water, brine or in a syrup. I plan on looking for it when we go to a “big city”. I would like to try using it in other recipes.

***My source at Jimbo’s, Encinitas, said that they sell the fresh fruit each season, but that it goes really fast. She said that one of the fruits they sold was 1 & 1/2 feet long!


Most of the recipes I found were for pulled pork sandwiches. I dug a little deeper & found other ways to cook with the fruit.

 The Jackfruit Company; Recipes Archives:  Their recipes are limited to their products but have some good ideas. 


A favorite website, Minimalist Baker: BBQ JACKFRUIT SANDWICHES WITH AVOCADO SLAW  Simple, 30 minute BBQ jackfruit sandwiches that will fool any meat lover! A crunchy, cool avocado slaw and roasted salted cashews add even more texture and flavor. The perfect vegan substitute for pulled pork. Click on the recipe title if you would like a printed version. The site also has photos & information about jackfruit.

Prep time, Cook time, Total time, Serves: 4-5

Ingredients

BBQ JACKFRUIT
  • 2 20-ounce cans young green jackfruit in water (NOT in syrup or brine)
  • 1/4 cup BBQ seasoning (2 Tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp pepper + 1/2 tsp chili powder)
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (ensure it‚Äôs vegan) + more for topping
AVOCADO SLAW (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage + carrots (Trader‚Äôs has a great cruciferous veg mix)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 lemon or lime, juiced
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
  • (water to thin)
FOR SERVING
  • 4-6 whole grain vegan buns (GF for gluten free eaters)
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted cashews (or roast on your own – see notes*)
 
Instructions
  1. Rinse, drain and thoroughly dry jackfruit. Chop off the center “core” portion of the fruit and discard. Place in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix together BBQ seasoning and add to jackfruit. Toss to coat.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1-2 Tbsp oil of choice and seasoned jackfruit. Toss to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes to achieve some color.
  4. Add BBQ sauce and thin with enough water to make a sauce. Stir and reduce heat to low- medium and cook for about 20 minutes (up to 35 minutes on low for a deeper flavor).
  5. Remove lid and stir occasionally. TIP: For finer texture, use two forks to shred the jackfruit as it cooks down.
  6. In the meantime, make slaw by adding all ingredients except vegetables (avocado through salt + pepper) to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Thin with water until a thick sauce is made, then add veggies and toss to coat. Set in the refrigerator until serving.
  7. Once the jackfruit has been properly simmered, turn up heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 more minutes to get a little extra color/texture (a tip I learned from Namely Marly!). Then remove from heat.
  8. Place generous portions of slaw on the bottom buns, top with generous serving of BBQ jackfruit, and cashews. Serve with extra BBQ sauce!
  9. Leftover jackfruit keeps for up to a couple days in the fridge, though best when fresh.

Notes

* Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 5 sandwiches with avocado slaw and roasted cashews.
* Loosely adapted from Blissful Basil.
* To roast your own cashews: Toss 1/2 cup cashews in a bit of oil and sea salt and spread on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes, or until roasty, fragrant and slightly golden brown.

Nutrition Information: Serving size: 1 sandwich Calories: 431 Fat: 13.6g Saturated fat: 2.6g Carbohydrates: 65g Sugar: 17gSodium: 1000mg Fiber: 15.7g Protein: 11.5g


Cooking Light Jackfruit recipes: A slide show with lots of fun recipes. I was surprised to see this recipe using jackfruit! 

Vegan ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup¬† by¬† Serves 6

Everyone enjoys a steaming bowl of soup to warm up their body and spirits when they’re under the weather. Now vegans and vegetarians don’t have to miss out on this comfort. Our plant-based spin on chicken noodle features¬†jackfruit, which perfectly mimics shredded chicken, and a combination of herbs that will hit you with a nostalgic taste. Feel free to substitute other pasta shapes (alphabet soup, anyone?) or other seasonal veggies you have on hand.¬†

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1 can jackfruit in brine, drained and shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dried whole wheat rotini
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

How to Make It 

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil. Cook until translucent and fragrant.
  2. Stir in the broth and the next 7 ingredients (through bay leaves). Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the rotini, cooking for about 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Stir in nutritional yeast and lemon zest just before serving.
Click on the recipe title for nutritional information.

These recipes use flavorings to turn jackfruit into fish, beef or pork! This site is fun because each recipe is linked to a new website. You get to make new friends ūüôā¬†¬†Vegan Food & Living.com:¬†16 mouth-watering vegan jackfruit recipes¬†Recently, Jackfruit has become the go-to ingredient for compassionate cooks. Not only is it super tasty, incredibly versatile, it‚Äôs also an excellent source of B-vitamins¬†and¬†a great source of dietary fibre, and¬†makes a fabulous substitute for meat in dishes that traditionally contain pulled-pork, crab, tuna etc. You name it, jackfruit can transform into it! So here‚Äôs 16 of the most ridiculously tasty vegan jackfruit recipes that will be loved by all.¬†


Let me know if you try this interesting fruit. I would love to share everyone’s opinions. Until next week…Mary ūüôā


***Clarification from last weeks post. I wrote: “It takes 2-4 medium oranges to make one cup of juice; 5-8 teaspoons of sugar per cup. Cola has 5 teaspoons per 8 ounces.” Oranges come in many varieties. Juicing oranges vary in juiciness¬†& sweetness. The sweeter the orange, the more sugar you get per cup/8 ounces. Thus, 8 ounces of orange juice could have more sugar than 8 ounces of cola.


Additional Informational Resources

New Vegan friends!

  • Namely Marly:¬†¬†At Namely Marly, we love celebrating ‚Äď life, family, and the little things that happen every day. We‚Äôre devoted to healthy living, vegan food, and days full of abundance.
  • Keepin’ It Kind:¬†Welcome to Keepin’ it Kind! I’m Kristy- Animal Lover, Travel Fanatic, and Chickpea Devotee. Join my husband and me as we make the world a kinder place, one delicious vegan meal at a time…
  • Veganosity:¬†Hi there, and welcome! We‚Äôre so happy you‚Äôre here. We created Veganosity for people who want to eat really good food that happens to be vegan….
  • Sweet Simple Vegan:¬†¬†Hi! I’m Jasmine, the Sweet Simple Vegan. I am here to share recipes and lifestyle tips to inspire others to take charge of their health.
  • Thyme & Love:¬†Hola! I‚Äôm Jeni! I create healthy, delicious Vegan recipes that are often inspired by my love of Mexico. I live in Michigan with my Husband Hector and our Pug, Phoebe.
  • Blissful Basil:¬†Plant-passionate recipe creator, vegan cookbook author, psychologist, animal lover, and curiosity chaser. My name is Ashley, and I‚Äôm the writer and photographer behind Blissful Basil….
  • Vegan Richa:¬†Hi, I’m Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options….
  • Fettle Vegan: Welcome to Fettle Vegan, where I whip up and share healthy, creative plant-based recipes easy enough for the novice cook but flavorful enough for even the advanced chef to enjoy! Some of the recipes fall into the categories ‘gluten-free’, ‘raw’, and ‘low sugar’ as well, but every one of them is created with a healthy perspective in mind.¬†
  • Yup,..it’s vegan!¬†:¬†¬†I’m Shannon, founder of Yup, it’s Vegan! I’m a morning person based in Baltimore, USA. I create healthy plant-based recipes that everyone will love, using seasonal produce and global inspiration.