While you may have heard of jackfruit being used as a meat substitute, which is true, it’s actually a fruit. It’s an incredibly large fruit as well, with the average jackfruit weighing between 25-45 pounds.
While jackfruit does have a subtly sweet flavor, the taste is more neutral than anything. It will mostly taste like what you cook it in. However, the reason it’s used as a meat substitute is that its texture is akin to shredded pork or beef.
Jackfruit is often a staple of many vegetarian and vegan meals. With endless ways to prepare, it’s a highly versatile fruit. It tastes like heart of palm.
And while its flavor might not pack a punch, its texture and aroma certainly do.
The smell of jackfruit is something that people can have issues with. It has a smell that is almost sickeningly sweet, somewhat like bubblegum and frozen bananas.
If you can get past the smell, you’ll next need to deal with the texture.
It’s true that jackfruit does have a texture similar to shredded beef and pork. It’s fairly dense and fibrous. However, it can also have a somewhat slimy texture from the sap, before being cooked.
Texture As Fruit
If you peel a jackfruit you’re left with something that resembles a mango. However, you probably don’t want to peel it. It’s incredibly difficult.
It’s also fairly difficult to cut and prepare a whole jackfruit as well. If you are going to be eating it on a consistent basis, it might be easier to purchase it ready-made.
When eaten as a fruit, it’s subtly sweet and juicy, with a texture similar to pineapple.
Texture As a Meat Substitute
If you’re using your jackfruit as a meat substitute, you’re going to be using unripened jackfruit. You can purchase it precooked and unflavored.
Out of the jar, it might look a little like large chunks of tuna, it’s somewhat pale in color. It will break and crumble easily. You can break it up in a pan exactly how you would ground beef, ground pork, or ground sausage.
Or if you prefer, you can pull it apart with forks after it’s cooked to get more of a shredded texture as opposed to a crumble.
When you’re using jackfruit from a jar or can, you’ll want to rinse it off before using it. Canned jackfruit is generally packed in brine and without rinsing first, will give your meal a saltier flavor. However, if your jackfruit was canned in water you can just drain and use it.
From here you can add anything you like. You can do bbq sauces for faux pulled pork, spices to make a curry, the ideas are endless.
Extra Flavor By Marinating
Jackfruit tends to absorb and pick up the flavors of the foods it’s prepared with. So, you can give it some extra flavor by marinating it before cooking.
Some popular flavors to marinate your jackfruit in include:
- BBQ sauces
- Italian dressings
- Lime and garlic oils
Jackfruit Made Easy
So basically, a jackfruit, like tofu, is what you make of it. Fruit, meat, ripe, unripened, marinated or not, there is a type of jackfruit for everyone.
If you’d like to give jackfruit a try, do yourself a favor and buy it prepacked. Jackfruits are huge, they ooze sap with you cut into them, and they have a tough exterior to cut through.