Jackfruit 101

April 10th 2018

What is Jackfruit?

Jackfruit is an amazing tropical fruit that has been popular in vegan circles for years as a meat substitute but is now making its way into mainstream cuisine. Jackfruit is the largest fruit in the world and has a sweet tropical flavor similar to pineapple or mango. However, it has a firmer texture that holds up nicely to more thorough cooking methods. Which makes it a nice substitute for sweeter meat recipes. Jackfruit is available in cans, but as with most foods – the fresher, the better. We recommend trying out fresh jackfruit from the produce section whenever possible. Here are some tips to get you started.

Anatomy of a jackfruit… 

A jackfruit is about the size of a watermelon and has a tough rind. The portion of the jackfruit that is edible is found inside, in between white fibers. These pods of edible fruit vary in size a golf ball to a tangerine but are all light yellow in color. To enjoy, you’ll need to remove the pods from the rind and fibrous filler.

When looking for a ripe jackfruit…

  • Inspect color:  The jackfruit should not be too green, but it should also not be too brown. A yellowish green with occasional brown spots should be just right.
  • Inspect firmness:  As with many fruits, the jackfruit should be firm but give slightly to pressure from your hands. If the jackfruit has extremely soft patches, it may be over ripe. If the flesh has no give at all, its likely not ripe at all.
  • Smell for fruity fragrance:  Jackfruit should have a pleasant, sweet aroma even when it hasn’t been cut. Avoid any jackfruit that has a musty smell as it might have spots on the verge of molding.

Tips for cutting jackfruit…

Although the actual fruit of a jackfruit is soft and sweet, the rind and filler is tough and has a gummy quality to it. To avoid getting your kitchen, utensils and hands sticky, follow these tips.

  • Cover working area with newspaper:  This will avoid getting any gum from the jackfruit on your cutting board or kitchen surface.
  • Rub coconut oil on knife and hands:  The coconut oil will keep your knife moving smoothly through the fruit without getting stuck. It’s also a good idea to rub coconut oil on your hands to avoid getting your fingers sticky. Other oils may be used, but coconut oil is a nice complement to the tropical flavor of the jackfruit.
  • Cut into slices around the middle to make removing the fruit pods easiest.

Tips for freezing jackfruit…

A whole fresh jackfruit can weigh more than 20 pounds. That’s a lot of fruit! If you’re like us, you’ll want to save some for later by freezing part of the fruit.

  • Remove seed from pod:  To maintain freshness and make using jackfruit easier later, remove the seed. That way the only portion of the jackfruit that you freeze is the actual fruity flesh.
  • Lay flat in large bag:  Laying the jackfruit pods flat rather than bunching them together will make separating the pods much easier later. Whether you want just a few pieces to through in a smoothie or the whole bag to make bbq sandwich filling with, you’ll be able to grab only what you need.

Tips for cooking jackfruit…

  • Don’t overcook:  Many of the recipes for jackfruit resemble recipes for pulled pork or shredded chicken. Don’t be fooled by simply swapping out jackfruit for a protein. The jackfruit will cook and breakdown much quicker than pork or chicken. So be sure to keep an eye on the texture of the jackfruit as you simmer it to avoid overcooking it and losing its texture.

Don’t add extra sugar: Jackfruit is already sweet. So, no need to over do it with added sugar. 

Find jackfruit in your local Price Chopper.

Many of our stores frequently carry fresh jackfruit. However, if you do not see it in your produce section, please don’t hesitate to ask your stores produce manager or customer service team.

Tag us with @my_pricechopper to share your pictures with us!


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