Jackfruit is the biggest fruit in the world. The world’s heaviest jackfruit according to Guinness came from India, clocking in at 42.72 kilograms (yes you read that right), was 57.15 centimeters long and had a circumference of 132.08 centimeters. But believe it or not the jackfruit tree is actually from the same family as a fig tree. I’m not making this up, I swear.
You can buy jackfruit in cans at many specialty grocery stores and supermarkets, or whole at food markets. I’d recommend opting for the canned versions which are easier to handle when preparing recipes. You can find jackfruit canned in water (great for savory recipes) and syrup (for desserts).
Ripe vs Unripe Jackfruit
Ripe jackfruit is very different from unripe jackfruit. It’s actually the unripe jackfruit that is used in most recipes, and that’s what you’ll find on store shelves. The young, green, unripe jackfruit is chewy and mild, making it perfect for soaking up the flavor of the savory dishes you’re cooking. You can use a riper version for sweet dishes like desserts. In its ripe version, it’s typically too sweet to use in savory dishes.
Why Has Jackfruit Become Such a Hot Topic?
Jackfruit is the fruit of the moment in the vegan community. It’s sort of like the best answer to meat you can get. The texture is substantial, very similar to pulled pork and the flesh of the fruit is very good at soaking up whatever flavors you marinate it with. Many vegans choose it over meat substitutes like tofu or soy- or bean-based products, and things like Portobello burgers. It’s a versatile ingredient that works in many different recipes. It’s just really good in the texture department, and until we figure out how to grow meat (stay tuned – that’s happening) this fruit tops the vegan-friendly list.
Researchers even claim that jackfruit could be an answer to the world’s food security problems. Because it’s packed full of nutrients (potassium, calcium, iron) and calories, grows well in warmer climates, is robust against pests, disease, and drought, it could serve as an answer to dwindling yields of the crops we rely on most today like wheat and corn.
Check out this recipe: