Never heard of Jackfruit?
You’re in for a treat! Un-ripened, jackfruit has a pretty neutral taste, as well as a meat-like texture. Some have claimed it tastes similar to chicken and can absorb flavors really well. But ripened, it tastes like an apple, pineapple, mango and banana combo — now that’s a complex flavor profile!
Before it’s cut open, it has a pretty pungent decaying smell, but it’s perfectly safe to eat. It’s also really easy to grow and can survive pests, diseases, high temperatures and droughts. It’s grown mostly across south and southest Asia, but it’s not too hard to track down.
This mild-flavored tropical fruit is most often used as a vegan-friendly alternative to pulled pork and chicken. Its subtle-sweet flavor and adaptable texture make it a great substitute for meat in everything from tacos and enchiladas to curries, BBQ and salads.
The jackfruit is often referred to as a “miracle fruit” thanks to an abundance of health benefits. It’s also incredibly versatile. Try it pan-fried, slow-cooked, sautéed or braised. You can also enjoy it raw as a refreshing snack or blended into smoothies, yogurt bowls, dressings, salsas and slaws.
- Jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world!
- It thrives in tropical climates and is popular throughout southeast Asia, Africa and Brazil
- It’s loaded with antioxidants and promotes healthy skin and hair
- It’s high in fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium
How to Tackle Jackfruit
Jackfruit is quite the heavyweight, with the average fruit weighing in at a whopping 30-50 pounds! The preparation of this unusual fruit might seem daunting, which is why we’ve put together a convenient step-by-step photo guide below. Jackfruit are typically so large that they are not sold whole and will come already halved or quartered.
If you’re taking the pre-cut route, simply start at Step 4.
Note: Jackfruit produces a sticky sap when cut. Simplify clean-up by applying cooking oil to your knife, wearing gloves and lining your work surface with parchment paper.
If buying whole:
1. Thoroughly Wash
Thoroughly wash jackfruit and place onto parchment paper-covered cutting board. Cut off both ends of the fruit.
2. Slice Vertically
Slice fruit vertically, cutting in half through the core.
3. Slice into Quarters
Slice each half into quarters.
4. Remove Core
Stand each quarter on flat side and slice away fibrous core, removing completely. Repeat with remaining quarters.
5. Slice into Wedges
Slice each quarter into 3-4 inch wedges.
6. Remove Arils
To get to the yellow edible fruit (arils), use your hands to pull the aril away from white fibers, completely removing it from the rind.
7. Remove Seed Pod
Remove seed pod by splitting aril along its natural seams, exposing the seed
8. Remove Seeds
Raw jackfruit seeds are starchy and waxy, resembling chestnuts and Brazil nuts in size and texture. There’s no need to discard them—you can cook and eat the seeds (and they’re delicious, too!)