Experienced vegans and vegetarians, step aside – I’m about to drop some knowledge on some of our newbie friends that you might already know. I think it’s worth talking about, though, because a lot of people ask me about soy-free vegetarian options, and/or inexpensive meal ideas and jackfruit is one of my go-to answers. If you’re super new to the whole not-eating-meat thing, you might also want to check out my Crash Course in Eating plant Strong.
What is jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a huge tree-borne fruit that typically grows in tropical regions. When ripe, they taste a little bit like a tart banana. Just close your eyes and think about that for a second… Tart. Banana. But we’re not here to talk about ripe jackfruit, we’re actually here to talk about young, or unripe jackfruit. Young jackfruit has a really mild flavor, and once you get your hands on it, it has the texture of shredded pork or poultry. Pretty weird, right?
Why should I eat it?
Well, like I said – jackfruit is an inexpensive, soy-free meat alternative, so it has that going for it. Like pretty much all fruit, jackfruit provides a decent burst of energy because it contains simple sugars like fructose and sucrose. It’s also a good source of fiber, and who doesn’t appreciate a healthy b.m.? Plus, it’s a pretty decent source of Vitamin C, is rich in B-complex vitamins (not so common in fruit) – and the seeds are a good source of protein. So stick it your mouth-hole today!
Where do I buy it?
Look for cans of young jackfruit in brine (not syrup) in Asian grocery stores, or if you have a nice international market nearby, look in the Asian section there. It should be under $2 for a 10 oz can. If you absolutely cannot find it anywhere near you, you can order it online. Or, if you are my sister, ask me to bring you cans of it every time I visit, because I totally will.
What do I do with it?
Cook it with BBQ sauce, coconut milk and spices, or anything you like, really. Then, throw it on a bun, use it to top off a salad, toss it on a baked potato… the sky is the limit when you’re in the jackfruit cult.
No, like, literally – what do I do with it? Give me recipes, dummy.
Oh, right. So, first you need to drain and rinse the fruit. Squeeze out as much of the water as you can, then rinse it and squeeze it again.
Once you’ve manhandled it, you’ll notice that it starts to take on a meaty texture. Also, the seeds will make their creepy, toe-like presence known. There is an 85% chance this will freak you out. Remain calm. Some people like to save the seeds and use them kind of like beans in other dishes. I am too hungry and impatient for that, so I just keep them in the mix. Now, there are lots of ways to cook jackfruit – you can simmer it in spiced coconut milk on the stove top, you can bake it, or, like me, you can toss it into a slow cooker. (I received a Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System at the Food Bloggers Conference a few months ago and I make pretty much everything in there.)
There are a few official recipes in my book including a jackfruit breakfast hash and a savory BBQ jackfruit salad. You can check out what Canned Time did with another jackfruit recipe of mine here! Or, try this mega-easy recipe that utilizes your favorite pre-made BBQ sauce:
Eat it on a bun, on a salad, on a baked potato, nachos… do what thou wilt. That’s my story about jackfruit. Enjoy.
Jackfruit: A WTF FAQ Recipe
By March 13, 2013Published:
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Prep: 1 min
- Cook: 4 hrs 0 min
- Ready In: 4 hrs 1 min
I cook variations of this recipe all the time for sandwiches, salads, all kinds of things!
- 20 oz young jackfruit in brine rinsed & drained
- 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 small onion diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- garlic powder to taste
- smoked paprika to taste
- salt & pepper to taste
- a few drops Liquid Smoke optional
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit as described above. Squeeze as much water out as you can.
- Add the jackfruit and all remaining ingredients to your slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Try to stir it up once in a while - add splashes of water if it seems like it's getting dry.
- Use two forks to shred the jackfruit until it resembles pulled pork.
- Serve it any damn way you want.
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