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Jackfruit: how does it taste?

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 340 views

Ripe it is suitable for desserts, unripe it is a vegan meat substitute: the jackfruit can be used in many ways in the kitchen. It is rich in vital substances and low in fat. Read more about the exotic fruit here, how it can be processed and what nutrients it contains.

What is jackfruit and what does it taste like?

The demand for jackfruit has increased in Germany in recent years. Not least because it is often used in vegan cuisine as a meat substitute when unripe . But what exactly is behind the exotic fruit and what does it taste like?

The jackfruit, also known as jackfruit, jackfruit or jaka, originally comes from southern India. It also grows in the tropical countries of Southeast Asia such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. In addition, farmers grow the fruit in South America, Africa and Australia. It belongs to the mulberry family.

The exotic fruit grows directly on the tree trunk, is elongated and oval. Their shell is green or yellow and studded with knobs. The edible flesh is soft and full of nutrients.

Depending on whether it is ripe or unripe, it tastes different and is suitable for different dishes. Since it has a high satiety effect and is versatile in the kitchen, it is used as a staple food in some tropical countries.

Ripe Jackfruit (Jaca Mole)

It takes three to six months for a jackfruit to ripen. It grows up to 50 centimeters long and weighs up to 50 kilograms. Because of this, it is the heaviest and largest tree fruit in the world.

Inside is a white stalk. It is surrounded by pieces of edible fruit about five centimeters in size. They all contain a seed and are distinguished from the other pieces of fruit by firm fibers. The raw core is not edible.

While the unopened ripe fruit smells like rotting onions, the flesh inside tastes sweet like a cross between a banana and a pineapple. The pulp is good as a snack or as an ingredient in sweet dishes. It is usually available in stores pickled in a sugar solution in a can.

Immature Jackfruit (Jaca Dura)

The unripe jackfruit is also edible – as a vegan meat substitute. It is harvested when it is about the size of a pineapple and weighs two to three kilograms. The flesh then has a white color and a consistency similar to chicken meat. The taste is neutral to slightly sour. The seeds are soft and the size of a pea.

The unripe jackfruit is commercially available in jars or preserves – usually in brine. There is also the meat substitute cut into small pieces, filled into bags and shrink-wrapped. The offer ranges from natural to marinated. The advantage of jackfruit over other meat substitutes: it is soy and gluten free.

Jackfruit: use and preparation

The ripe jackfruit is not easy to peel because of its sticky juice. Even with soap it is difficult to wipe off. Therefore, wear gloves when you cut open a ripe jackfruit and rub the cutting board and knife with vegetable oil beforehand.

Ripe jackfruit suitable for many desserts

The pulp pockets can be removed by hand. Remove the seeds before eating. A total of up to 500 of the smooth and light brown seeds are hidden in a jackfruit. They are between two and four centimeters in size. Cooked or roasted, they taste similar to sweet chestnuts.

Roasted, dried seeds are also ground to make flour, which can be mixed with wheat flour for baking.

If you don’t want to make your own jackfruit, look for canned or ready-to-eat jackfruit at the store.

The ripe jackfruit is found in:

  • sweets
  • fruit roll
  • jams
  • ice cream
  • baby food
  • Saft
  • jam and jelly
  • liqueur

Dried jackfruit pulp is also used to make jackfruit leather and jackfruit chips, for example.

Unripe jackfruit suitable for curries and pulled pork

The unripe jackfruit is a good vegan substitute for pulled pork or chicken. In the supermarket, the meat substitute is often seasoned with a hearty BBQ or teriyaki sauce. It can then be boiled or fried. The unripe jackfruit also tastes good in curries or vegan goulash.

Look for packaging that labels jackfruit as “young” or “packed in brine.” These words indicate that it is unripe and suitable as a meat substitute.

Do not eat the unripe jackfruit raw!

Jackfruit: nutritional values

Unlike tofu and seitan , jackfruit is not high in protein. Since it also contains little iron, it is not an appropriate meat substitute in terms of nutritional values. But it is low in fat, contains starch and fiber . It is therefore more comparable to a potato.

100 grams of the unripe fruit pickled in brine has about 30 calories. The mature version comes in at 70 calories. If it is preserved in sugar, it is 100 calories per 100 grams.

In addition, the jackfruit contains significant amounts of the following nutritional values:

How healthy is jackfruit?

In addition to the nutrients mentioned, jackfruit also contains the secondary plant substances lignans, isoflavones and saponins. They may have anti-cancer and blood pressure-lowering effects as well as anti-aging effects.

However, according to the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), it cannot be said to what extent the health-promoting effect can be attributed to individual secondary plant substances or specific patterns of secondary plant substances.

The ingredients in the jackfruit therefore only possibly contribute to health effects.

constipation

Ripe jackfruit is a good source of fiber, helping you feel fuller for longer. It also has a positive effect on bowel movements. Please note, however, that there is more fiber in a ripe apple or pear.

Diabetes

The body digests and absorbs jackfruit more slowly than some other foods. This means that blood sugar doesn’t rise as quickly as when you eat other fruits. One study found that jackfruit extract made it easier for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.

high blood pressure

The potassium in this tropical fruit may help lower blood pressure. In some cases, this helps prevent heart disease, stroke, and bone loss.

Be careful if you have a birch pollen allergy. While jackfruit allergy is rare, there is a higher risk of cross allergy with birch pollen.

Jackfruit: how sustainable is it?

Since the jackfruit only grows under tropical conditions, it has come a long way before it is on our supermarket shelves. Depending on the environmental influences, pesticides are also used during cultivation. The possible consequence: a high pesticide content. In the past, fruit from Malaysia, in particular, was found to be negative during controls and must now be examined when imported into the EU.

A small plus point: The jackfruits come to Europe almost exclusively on container ships. They therefore have a better climate balance than food that is flown in. Their ecological footprint is also better than that of meat.

It is best to buy organic and fair trade goods. In this way you can at least ensure that the respective manufacturers have paid attention to sustainability during cultivation, processing and transport. Because organic products usually come from small family businesses that usually do not use any pesticides.

Where to buy jackfruit

Ripe jackfruits are only rarely available in Germany and mostly only in Asian shops. The processed jackfruit products such as preserves, dried fruit or meat substitutes are available in many organic supermarkets and sometimes also in large drugstores. There are also various online shops that offer jackfruit products.

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