In recent years, jackfruit has climbed onto the world food stage as a great substitute for meat because of its versatility and distinct, meaty texture. But, how to eat jackfruit is a question we’ve all been asking, especially when it comes to preparing it at home.
Pick the right jackfruit for you
Jackfruit has a different flavour depending on how ripe it is, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for. A green jackfruit is not ripe yet – a ripe jackfruit is yellow. When green, the fruit is still edible but has a more neutral flavour, similar to potato, and if you’re trying to make a meat substitute or you want it to absorb a lot of another flavour, then this is what you should buy. A ripe jackfruit is much more like a standard tropical fruit in taste.
Know how to prepare it
Sadly, if you’re trying to do something a little creative with your jackfruit, it isn’t enough just to throw it into whatever you’re making without quite a bit of preparation first. To prepare jackfruit, you need to slice the fruit into large chunks and then boil it for about three-quarters of an hour. By this point, the flesh should be soft and stringy. Once this is done, you can take the skin off and use it as you wish.
The savoury jackfruit we have come to know and love as a substitute for pork, chicken or even fish, is a product of a simple but crucial cooking process – marinading. To get that meaty or fishy flavour, soak your jackfruit in a marinade of your choice for as long as possible before adding it to your dish. For the classic ‘pulled pork’ jackfruit, you want to put the cooked jackfruit in a freezer bag with coconut oil, paprika, chilli powder, maple syrup and tamari, and leave it at least overnight.
Keep the seeds as a snack
A lot of people throw away the seeds from jackfruit, thinking that only the flesh is worth eating. How wrong they are. The seeds are incredibly healthy – packed with fibre, iron, vitamins and protein – but they are also delicious. If you have some left over from your cooked jackfruit (the seeds need to be boiled first as well), then you can either roast or deep-fry them to produce a tasty, nutty snack. Even better is to throw them around in a quick rub (think chilli peanuts) before you deep-fry them.
If you’re in a rush, just buy the tinned version
As any decent chef knows, there is nothing wrong with cutting a corner now and then to save time and to serve up a better meal. So, if you just haven’t got time to go through the process of cutting up and boiling your jackfruit before you get on with the lengthy marinade, then just buy it pre-prepared in a tin. Better yet, maybe answer the question of ‘how to eat jackfruit’ with a simple answer: let someone else, like Coriander Leaf, cook it for you.