Jackfruit is the largest known tree-borne fruit in the world. With a Jurassic-looking green, spiky exterior, the irregular-shaped fruit can weigh anywhere from 10 to 100 pounds, and each tree can produce up to three tons of fruit yearly. Originally found in Southeast Asia, the mammoth crop is also grown in Brazil and Mexico, which makes it available from summer through fall.
Where to Buy
Picking and preparing a jackfruit can be a chore because of its enormity (think watermelon-sized) and sticky white sap. Knowing this, the Asian markets have already-prepared jackfruit available for you. The gold, fleshy pods are deseeded, wrapped, and ready to eat—easy to grab and go.
You can also buy it frozen or canned. Find it at H Mart, 99 Ranch Market, or Honk Kong Market.
Eat It, Roast It, or Barbecue It
Full of vitamin C and B-complex, the ripe flesh is only 95 calories per ½-cup serving. Full of antioxidants and fiber, the ripe fruit can be eaten raw or made into smoothies and desserts.
Each pod has a seed in the middle that can also be eaten. These seeds are boiled, roasted, or made into a flour, like chestnuts—but with the added benefit of lots of protein, potassium, and iron.
Gaining popularity with vegetarians and vegans, the unripe flesh—when cooked—has a stringy texture and mild taste, similar to shredded chicken or pork: Think barbecue-jackfruit sliders.
BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders
6 cups of unripe jackfruit flesh, shredded
1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
1 tablespoon coriander, ground
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, homemade or store-bought
6 brioche buns, toasted
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute the sliced onions until translucent. Add the jackfruit, and cook for two minutes. Add garlic, paprika, and coriander and cook until jackfruit starts to brown. Stir in vegetable broth and one cup of barbecue sauce; mix well. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally until sauce thickens and jackfruit is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
Top the bottom half of a toasted bun with barbecue-pulled jackfruit and additional barbecue sauce. Add fresh cilantro leaves and cover with top side of bun. Serve with a side of pickled vegetables.