Introducing the largest tree fruit in the world….THE JACKFRUIT!! This fruit is by far the most natural meat replacement nature has to offer and is also very versatile when trying to replicate a meaty chewy texture. In the next couple of days I plan on sharing everything I know about this incredible fruit. We will be making different recipes using different components of the jackfruit which I’ll explain later in this post. I will show you how to season, marinate and cook this fruit to replicate some of your favorite meat dishes along with how to make the perfect sauces. You will be amazed at what this 40 pound fruit can do!
Upcoming Jackfruit Recipes
The recipes above replace some of my favorite dishes below that cause me more pain than joy.
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches Chicken Nuggets Steak Fajitas
For these 3 amazing recipes we will be using a fresh jackfruit weighing in at about 7lbs.
I had a thought the other day as I was feeding Chico dog his breakfast of raw meat and veggies. We obviously do not love meat in it’s raw form like dogs do. We love the garlic, onion, chili powder or whatever spices and herbs and we also like the taste of cooked fats, but we don’t crave the actual raw meat. We like the texture of meat, we as humans need to chew to keep our jaw muscles strong, but more often than not we have to season the meat for it to taste up to our standards. So basically in its raw form, meat is a blank canvas to make of it what you will through flavorings and seasonings.
Then I thought Jackfruit is like a blank canvas, it’s sweet, meaty and chewy, it has 3 distinctly different parts that can be used to replicate chicken, pork and beef all in one, and so my jackfruit obsession began. If you look at it for the first time not knowing what it is you might assume it’s an alien egg or something. It has taken me a year and a half and 500 pounds of jackfruit to develop the perfect trifecta of recipes that can feed a family of 4 for weeks utilizing a whole or half fruit.
I had my first experience with jackfruit at a vegan restaurant in KC. Then one day I was strolling through Chinatown and I see this huge spiky green thing and I go “Dominick, what is this, is this jackfruit?” Sure enough it was and it was HEAVY! We decided to buy it and I think it weighed about 46 lbs at .89 per pound. It was something I was dedicated to figuring out. There wasn’t much info online, all I could find was recipes using canned young jackfruit which is what the restaurant I went to used. But canned young jackfruit is too salty for me and not as tasty as the real fresh fruit!! Plus you don’t get all the goodies a mature jackfruit has to offer.
This beautiful intricate fruit is a delicacy in some parts of the world. You can read all about the fruit itself in this wonderful in-depth jackfruit article.
Where can I find it?
I have found jackfruit at almost every large Asian market. Chinatown in KC, H-Mart in DC, MD, VA, and Asian Food Market in Albany NY all had a beautiful selection of jackfruit. They even cut them in halves and quarters in case you don’t want a 30-50 pound fruit. I have seen the prices vary anywhere from .89 cents to $2.29/lb, That high of a price is normally rare and in an off season.
What do I look for?
Jackfruit is intricate so there are a lot of things to look for when choosing the best fruit.
- Jackfruit ripens just like all fruit, they have many stages. We are looking for the most un-ripe jackfruit to cook with. Letting it get extremely ripe will result in a very stinky and slimy situation.
- For the upcoming cooked recipes you want to make sure your fruit is fresh, firm skin and firm fruits. The whiter the insides the younger the jackfruit is, the meatier it will be. Do not get a jackfruit where the fruit is already dark yellow or orange. If you cook jackfruit that is too ripe it will get mushy. We want a soft and chewy texture for our “meat”.
- White or blue tinted sap on the outside of a jackfruit is normal.
- In some places I found they only sold whole jackfruits. This can be tricky to tell what what you’re getting on the inside and you’ll get about 60 sandwiches from a whole jackfruit! I recommend asking someone if they can cut them in 1/2 or even in 1/4.
The picture below was a jackfruit that was almost too ripe. That orangish color is as far as I would go, but remember the whiter the better!
I used to use the pulp as “pulled pork” There is always so much of it! They don’t normally eat the pulp but I have found that by cooking it for 40 minutes they do turn out tender and edible to use for pulled jackfruit sandwiches but I now only recommend using the un-ripe fruit.
I use the fruit pods as “chicken nuggets” or I just eat them as is because after all it is a fruit and can be eaten raw.
I use the core as “steak strips” or “beef tips”
How do I attack this thing?
- First things first, oil your knife. Jackfruit has a sticky slimy latex that will only come off with oil.
- If you bought a whole jackfruit cut your jackfruit in half lengthwise. Then quarter it lengthwise again.
- Cut out the core, you can now cut them in strips for the fajitas.
- Flip the whole fruit inside out so that all the fruits pods and pulp open up and are easier to get to.
- First take out the fruit pods and then take out the seed throw them into separate bowls and throw out the seed shells.
- When you’re finished taking out all the fruit pods quarter the pieces again and carefully cut away the skin.
- Break apart the pulp and throw into a separate bowl.
- You can store all the components in the fridge in an air tight container for about a week or 2.
- You can also boil the seeds for 20-30 minutes and eat like a chestnut! I might try to make some yummy desserts with them this week!
Well there you have it, jackfruit, the world’s largest tree fruit. Look forward to all 3 recipes coming up next.
p.s. These monster fruits are perfect for upcoming Super Bowl parties!!