If you’ve been to a trendy food café or follow a variety of food bloggers on Instagram, you may have seen jackfruit popping up on your feed.
But what is it?
It is a fruit that grows on a tree, generally found in India and some areas in Asia. It has an oval shape with pointy- cone shaped green or yellow spikes found on its skin. The interior is a white fleshy membrane with pithy core. That being said, it has a pretty good fiber content with about 7g per 1 cup.
You can eat the membrane as well as the seeds. The seeds provide protein and can be roasted for snacking or ground up and blended into flour. I have not done this but according to this website, it tastes similar to chestnuts.
The fleshy membrane is becoming more commonly used in the culinary world, especially for vegans and vegetarians. It is marketed as a meat substitute due to its texture and appearance being similar to actual meat.
Since the fruit itself acts like an astringent, it leaves your mouth feeling dry. This is why it soaks up sauce so well and why you might see it in various recipes with a lot of sauce.
Here are a few good looking recipes I’ve found online if you are feeling adventurous:
- BBQ Jackfruit sandwich with avocado slaw via Minimalist baker
- Jackfruit ‘Tuna’ melt sandwich via keepin it kind
- Vegan jackfruit pot pie via Soy Divison
I wanted to see what the hype was all about so I went a bought a can of canned jackfruit in brine at my local grocer.
I rinsed it to get the briny taste away and tested it with 3 different sauces…
- BBQ, Hoisin and Almond turmeric dressing
I think my favorite out of the 3 was definitely the BBQ. I felt like the almond turmeric dressing was too watery for this fruit and it needed a sauce with a little more body to really soak up the flavor.
Overall, the taste was actually not that bad! It really did have a meaty feel and I felt like it could have gone on top of a sandwich or perhaps in a bowl with some grains and/or veggies.
Should you eat it?
I’ll let you decide this one. Personally, it did not fill me up like a normal protein food source would.
If I wanted a nutritionally balanced meal, I would not substitute jackfruit in place of meat. It does not have any protein in it. Based on the average diet you should have 20-30g of protein per meal depending on your body weight, height and gender.
However, if being vegan/vegetarian/plant based is important to you could pair this with a whole grain/wheat bun or some sort of bean mixture ( see that tuna sandwich up top) that provides some protein in addition to other protein packed items you might be eating.
Overall I would probably eat it again, not in terms of nutrition, but just because of the unique properties that the food provides. I applaud the culinary world for branching out and bringing jackfruit into the spotlight for when people who normally don’t eat meat feel like eating something with a similar texture.
Nutritional spotlight is a series in which I do a quick dive into the ins and outs of the particular food items or additives. I will be doing product reviews and my opinions are always my own. Generally, I choose these foods based on current market food trends or projected food trends.