Vegans and Jackfruit: A Love Story


Have you heard about jackfruit – the all-natural plant ingredient that’s been popping up in vegan and vegetarian dishes around the nation? Yea – me either. But let’s check out this amazing soy alternative.

What is it?

Jackfruit, beyond having a fantastic name, is the large fruit of a tree native to parts of South and Southeast Asia. How large? We’re talking #1 in the world – with some fruit weighing as much as 80 pounds and growing three feet long and nearly two feet wide. In other words, you can get “jacked” harvesting Jackfruit.

What’s the big deal – and why is it showing up in more veg restaurants?

Unripe jackfruit reportedly has a meaty taste – with texture comparable to poultry. It also accepts seasonings well, making it really easy to marinade or spice up. It’s appearance and taste once prepared is so deceiving that many people believe they’re actually eating meat.

It’s also super rich in vitamins and minerals and contains many cancer-fighting properties such as isoflavones, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. A full list of the awesome health benefits can be found here.

Can I grow one at home? 

Unless you live in zone 10 and above (ie; the tropics) growing a tree can be a bit hard without the right conditions. That – and well, it takes up to 14 years before the first fruit arrives. If you’re still curious, here are some instructions – but the supermarket is likely everyone else’s best bet. (Tip: Try Chinese and Indian markets. These Jackfruits were spotted last summer in Jackson Heights.)

Ok, got any recipes? 

Absolutely – how about some Jackfruit Carnitas? Jackfruit Pulled Pork? Or some delicious Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes? I’ve also heard Jackfruit Curry is pretty damn amazing. And here’s a bunch more.

Got any other great recipes? Share them with us below! – Michael dEstries


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Image: Alex Popovkin