Jackfruit is a large, spiky, yellow fruit that comes from the fig family. It grows largely in Asia, though it can also be found in South America and parts of Africa.
Jackfruit has not always been widely eaten in the U.S. In recent years, jackfruit has taken the internet by storm. The new trend towards eating jackfruit is due, in part, to the fact that it provides a source of plant-based protein that can be incorporated into many different dishes. Its texture when cooked is similar to shredded meat and it can provide a delicious meat alternative for people on plant-based diets.
Fresh jackfruit is large, and it can be intimidating to try to tackle this massive fruit for the first time. But when you consider its nutritional impact, you'll understand the reason so many choose to enjoy this fruit. Packed with antioxidants and fiber, jackfruit has been proven to help with many different bodily functions.
Here are just a few of the many health benefits of jackfruit:
Boost Your Immune System
Jackfruit is loaded with antioxidants that can help boost your immune system. It contains carotenoids, which can help reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of developing certain chronic diseases.
Jackfruit also contains vitamin C, which can help reduce the duration of certain illnesses, including the common cold.
Improve Skin Health
The antioxidants found in jackfruit have another benefit as well: they may keep your skin looking fresh and young. Vitamin C has been shown to help keep skin looking young, especially when consumed via fruits and vegetables rather than applied topically to the skin.
Regulate Blood Sugar
The high levels of fiber in jackfruit slow digestion, giving jackfruit a relatively low glycemic index number. Diets with plenty of low-GI foods have been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels.
Jackfruit is also packed with protein, which can help prevent blood sugar levels from spiking after eating a meal. This combination makes jackfruit a good choice for people with conditions like type 2 diabetes.
Jackfruit is loaded with nutrients. In fact, its dense nutritional profile makes it a popular food choice in many developing countries. Some of the nutrients packed into jackfruit include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Nutrients per Serving
A half-cup serving of jackfruit contains:
- Calories: 72
- Fat: 0 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
- Sodium: 2 milligrams
- Carbohydrates: 18 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 14 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
Like many fruits, jackfruit is full of sugar. When using jackfruit as a substitution for meat in burgers or other dishes, it’s possible to get too much sugar. This is especially true if you’re adding sugary seasonings like BBQ sauce.
To avoid getting too much sugar in your diet, limit yourself to four or five servings of fruit each day. If you plan to add sugary sauces to your dinner, eat low-sugar foods for the rest of the day.
How to Prepare Jackfruit
Jackfruit is the largest fruit produced by trees and can weigh up to 80 pounds. The jackfruit you’ll find in your local grocery store is likely to be more in the 10-20 pound range.
When working with jackfruit, it’s important to wear gloves. The edible portion of jackfruit is surrounded by a sticky substance that you’ll have to remove. You may even want to cut your jackfruit open outside to make cleanup easier.
Make sure your jackfruit is ripe before cutting into it. You should feel a little bit of give to it when you push on it with your fingers and you may even be able to smell it before you cut it open.
Start by cutting your jackfruit in half, and then cut it in half again. Remove the core of the jackfruit, and then you can start pulling out the pockets of fruit and seeds. Separate the fruit from the seeds.
The fruit itself can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of recipes. Try cooking jackfruit in a slow cooker or instant pot with some BBQ sauce and vegetable stock. When it’s fully cooked, it will pull apart with two forks just like pulled pork. You can then use it to make sandwiches, tacos, and more!
As for the seeds, they taste a bit like chestnuts. They can be roasted with salt and pepper and enjoyed as an afternoon snack.