Dealing with fresh jackfruit
A jackfruit can be an intimidating fruit to start working with, especially if you’ve never seen a fresh, whole one, but the rewards you can rea are well worth investigating a little and perservering.
Have fun learning a new skill and experimenting with a nutritionally rich, exotic fruit.
Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, having been known to grow up to 100lbs (that’s 45kg for our friends across the pond)! The good news is that the majority of it is edible. You only need to discard the sticky core and green skin. A jackfruit can contain up to 150 seeds and, luckily for us, although originally from India, it grows really well in this climate.
It contains a high amount of vitamin C and antioxidants. Its full of good carbohydrates too- just what you need before embarking on island adventures.
First, decide if you want a ripe Jackfruit, which is sweet and soft (with fruit you can eat straight up) or a green jackfruit (for cooking).
Ripe ones will give off a sweet, musky smell and have a little give to them when squezed. ‘Green’ ones will be exactly that, brighter in color and firm. *Either way the seeds can be cooked and eaten.
Ripe ones are good for eating sweet- dehydrated, jams, amoothies or dry in our dehydrator for a chewy fruit snack…
Green ones are good for substance in savory dishes, sauteed with veg and garlic, or in curries, soups or stews. Jackfruit tacos are also popular and using jackfruit as a substitute for meat in a BBQ pulled pork dish is a thing too! Canned jackfruit in brine is often sold as ‘vegetable meat’.
Let’s get started!
It’s a good idea to coat your work surface, knife and hands with oil before cutting into these beasts- they contain a sticky latex, which is a pain to remove without the oil. Re-apply as necessary throughout the dissection process- and yes, it is a process, but again, so worth it!
Cut the Jackfruit in a cross- divding it into 8 pieces, trying to avoid cutting through the core if you can (usually about ¼ of the size of the fruit itself) as this is where most of the latex is stored.
Cut around the core and pop open the jackfruit at the inverse to its natural curve. This will seperate the fruit from the meat clearly if its green. Cut each section away from the skin and sort the fruit, seeds and stringy flesh.
The ‘stringy’ parts (the rags) are the bit which resemble shredded meat when cooked long and slow. Unripe it has very little flavor of its own, so takes on whatever it is cooked in easily.
The fruit also has little flavor when it’s this firm and can be cooked up too in curries or soups. It’s when it ripens that it becomes soft, custard-like and sweet.
The seeds must always be cooked- steamed or boiled first, then leave them to cool and take of the skins. At this point they can be eaten straight up, but we like to roast them in either chili flakes and salt or with soy sauce in an iron pan and eat them as a whole snack.
See our Jackfruit Seed Hummus for a tropical twist on the greek classic
Or our jackfruit curry that ‘tastes like chicken’.