What is a jackfruit anyway?

16 July, 2020

Let’s take a look at the hot vegan-friendly meat substitute

Hugely popular among vegans, jackfruit has become a popular meat substitute in recent years. But just what is it?

The jackfruit is an incredible fruit. It grows in tropical climates – like our very own Northern Territory and Far North Queensland – and is part of the same family as figs, mulberries and breadfruit. But what makes it so amazing is that the fruit, which grows in bunches from a Jack Tree, can grow up to 55kg in weight (although the average fruit is 16kgs). Often used in Sri Lankan, Indian and South East Asian cooking, the skin is yellow or green depending on ripeness, and spiky but not sharp. Its texture, when in an unripened state, is similar to shredded meat which is why this fruit is gaining popularity as a vegan meat substitute. When it is very ripe the flesh is sweet and great in desserts.

Where to buy jackfruit

Woolworths Metro at Chatswood Interchange has Ceres Organics canned (sweet or green) jackfruit which is the perfect way to purchase this fruit. When you’re ready to start experimenting, simply remove the lid, drain the liquid and get cooking.

Jackfruit are in season from June to September in the NT and from January to May in Queensland so for most of the year it is possible to get your hands on fresh jackfruit in Australia. Speak with your local fruit shop about ordering some in for you.

How to cook with jackfruit

Vegan pulled pork? Yep, it’s made using green unripened jackfruit. Need a meat substitute for a healthy lunch dish? Try this jackfruit/chicken quinoa bowl. Pop it on pizza, put it in a pie, lay strips in a rice paper roll or cook a huge stir-fry. The jackfruit is one of the most versatile foods we can use in our kitchens.

If it’s Taco Tuesday but you want to go meat free, you can use jackfruit instead. These vegan jackfruit tacos will satisfy everyone who dines at your table and they probably won’t even know the difference. This Jamaican jackfruit wrap recipe also packs a punch with lovers of burritos.

When it comes to sweet treats, jackfruit is ideal. Jackfruit coconut muffins give your kids’ school lunches a burst of sweetness with an exotic twist and you can create a rush of sugary goodness for them with a slice of this jackfruit upside down cake.  This jackfruit ice cream recipe is another way to use the popular fruit in your cooking.

And if you’d prefer someone else to be doing the cooking for you, why not let your District Dining favourites know that you’d love to see jackfruit and other vegan-friendly options on the menu?

Jackfruit is good for you too!

The flesh of the jackfruit is low in calories and high in protein and antioxidants so it is good for athletes and those on a high performance diet. Jackfruit seeds can also be cooked and eaten. They help in maintaining good eyesight and healthy hair and nails as they contain Vitamin A.