A healthy substitute for meat? 5 facts about jackfruit

Jackfruit

When you think of the name Jack, do you immediately think of a famous pirate from the Caribbean? Then you probably haven’t heard of jackfruit – the new kid on the block! This prickly tropical fruit is currently a hit on the veggie scene, where it is lauded primarily as a versatile substitute for meat. But what lies behind this trend? Today, we have 5 important facts about jackfruit for you.

Fact 1: Jackfruit likes a warm environment

Jackfruit is native to several countries, including India, Brazil and Indonesia, where it is eaten mainly as an ingredient in various curries or soups, or as a dessert or snack. The seeds are made into flour. While jackfruit is eaten when it is ripe and sweet, the unripe fruit is also used.

Fact 2: Jackfruit is a heavyweight

Jackfruit grows on the branches of trees measuring up to 20 metres in height. Individual jackfruit can weigh up to 35 kilograms each. It is actually the largest tree-grown fruit in the world! Incidentally, jackfruit is a species that belongs to the fig and mulberry family. Good to know: its name is derived from the Malaysian word chakka, which simply means “round”.

Fact 3: It hides a sweet secret

Unremarkable on the outside, but incredibly juicy inside. The jackfruit’s green and dimpled peel conceals a delicious flesh that is arranged in “pockets” radiating from the core. The sweet, aromatic fruit is accessed by dividing the jackfruit into two halves and then cutting it into slices. This can be done by hand with the soft jaca-mole variety but you will need a knife for the hard jaca-dura variety. Tip: Remove the seeds before eating and cook them – they taste like chestnuts.

Fact 4: Jackfruit is a sticky delight

When you open a jackfruit for the first time, you will be surprised at how sticky it is. Even soap is not much of a match for it. Vegetable oil is your secret weapon here, use it to clean your chopping board and knife. Disposable gloves are also a great help for jackfruit fans. In the jackfruit’s native countries, people wash their hands with kerosene after handling the fruit – please don’t do this.

Fact 5: It is an alternative to (the taste of) meat

Jackfruit is similar to chicken, beef and pork in terms of its taste and structure. This is why it is so popular among vegans and vegetarians. However, the jackfruit must be harvested while it is still unripe if it is to be used as a meat substitute. At this stage, it is almost tasteless and acquires the typical “meat taste” when it is marinated and then fried. While jackfruit is extremely healthy, our own native vegetables can also match it in terms of nutrients. Furthermore, instead of being protein-rich – like meat – it is high in carbohydrates. Jackfruit therefore imitates the taste experience of meat.

Have you tried it yet?

Your Dole Team

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