The jackfruit is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family, native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have also originated in the southwestern rain forests of India. The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching a weight up to 80 lbs. But aside from its unique appearance and many health benefits, why are so many vegans eating jackfruit? Here’s the 411.
Anatomy of Jackfruit
As mentioned earlier, jackfruit being the largest tree-borne fruit, is enormous. It is also prickly, and its flesh is starchy and fibrous, making it a great source of fiber. It looks like durian, but much larger. One other unique feature this odd fruit has that is also similar to durian is its distinct aroma, which is slightly sweet. The flavor of this fruit is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. Once a jackfruit is cut open, its seeds (also sometimes referred to as bulbs or pods) are exposed and are round and dark like chestnuts. The fleshy part of these seeds can be eaten as is, or can be cut up and cooked.
When unripe, jackfruit has a texture that is remarkably similar to chicken, making it an excellent substitute for meat, which has helped it gain widespread popularity in the vegan and vegetarian communities. Canned jackfruit in brine is even sometimes referred to as “vegetable meat”.
Health Benefits of Jackfruit
Jackfruit contains many essential vitamins and minerals, and also offers numerous health benefits. It is a great source of protein, fat, and fiber and contains many isoflavones, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, making it great for fighting and preventing cancer and other harmful diseases. It is also ideal for helping cure ulcers, indigestion, improving bone and skin health, and increasing eye vision, and protecting from cataracts and macular degeneration.
The fruit is also a great source of potassium, making it great for maintaining fluids and electrolytes. It is a good source of calorie, but contains no cholesterol or saturated fats. It is also known for improving energy and maintaining blood pressure. It is great for the immune system due to its antioxidants and vitamin C. Both of these things increase immunity to fight against common diseases and illnesses, including cough, cold, and flu. It is also good for protecting the body against infection.
Jackfruit can be purchased in a number of different ways. It can come frozen, dried, or canned either in brine (usually unripe), or in syrup (ripe and sweet). It can also be purchased fresh, but is very sticky to cut.
Cooking with Jackfruit
Since jackfruit has a “meaty” texture, and is versatile and nutritious, it works great as a substitute for chicken or tuna. Many vegans and vegetarians use it to make tacos, enchiladas, pulled barbeque sandwiches, tuna or chicken melts, sandwiches, or salads, etc. If you are looking for a great way to use jackfruit, here are 13 amazing recipes to get you started!
What Is Jackfruit? – Wisegeek.org
13 Stellar Vegan Jackfruit Recipes – Veg News
11 Health Benefits of Jackfruit – Wiki Fitness
Jackfruit: What Is Jackfruit? – About.com