You may have heard of a new ingredient that’s taking the UK by storm. Jackfruit has long been used in its native Asian regions for curries and stews, but it is becoming increasingly popular in the West as a meat substitute.
What is jackfruit and what can you do with it? How is jackfruit used in restaurants? Here we delve deeper into the jackfruit world to uncover the truth about this unique fruit.
What is a Jackfruit, Exactly?
The jackfruit is a prickly, large tropical fruit that grows on trees in Asia. The fruit is green and it looks rectangular. It is similar to a durian fruit and it can reach up to 80 pounds in size. Jackfruit is a popular staple fruit in its countries of origin, including Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. It is relatively less accessible, and more expensive, in the UK and the US.
How to Prepare Jackfruit
Jackfruit is not particularly simple to prepare. You need to cut it open and then cut out the seeds that are connected inside the core of the fruit. You can eat jackfruit raw or boil it in a pan or pressure cooker. Jackfruit supplier companies in the UK normally sell jackfruit ready-prepared in cans. This saves restaurants a considerable amount of preparation time.
How to Use Jackfruit
There are two different stages of a jackfruit’s life, and they produce different tasting fruit. Ripe jackfruit is sweet and similar to a mango or a pineapple. But when the jackfruit is unripe, or green, it has a similar flavour to a potato and is good at absorbing the characteristics of the foods it is cooked with. Unripe jackfruit also has a stringy texture which is similar to pulled pork. It is used as a substitute for meat in curries, stir-fries, or any recipes that call for pulled pork or chicken. Jackfruit is often used in barbecue recipes as it has a composition that makes it similar to barbecued meat.
Where to Buy Jackfruit
Buy jackfruit at Asian supermarkets and stores in the UK. Restaurants often purchase jackfruit from a supplier, which will source jackfruit in bulk from Asia and package the fruit into cans or boxes. You can also buy frozen jackfruit as well as dried jackfruit. Jackfruit from restaurant suppliers is often sold in water as this allows restaurant owners to manipulate the product and the taste to suit their requirements.
Health Benefits of Jackfruit
Unripe jackfruit contains vitamins A and C, lots of protein, and calcium and iron. The nutrients are preserved when the fruit is frozen. Canned jackfruit has fewer nutrients than fresh, but canned fruit is often easier to prepare. Some people think that jackfruit seeds are poisonous. However, most people can safely eat the seeds when they are cooked. The seeds contain nutrients, too, including protein, fibre, and antioxidants. People taking medications like aspirin and blood thinners should avoid eating raw jackfruit seeds, however.