Hot New Vegan Ingredient: Green Jackfruit

It is big, green and has foodies all over the world drooling. Native to South-East Asia the Green Jackfruit is used as a meat replacement in dishes as has a striking resemblance to pulled pork when cooked. Long since used by cooks and chefs in vegan/vegetarian restaurants around Europe, it is now making its more mainstream debut on supermarket shelves driven by the ever-growing demand for meat-free food alternatives.

The Green Jackfruit – what is it?

The Jackfruit comes from the jackfruit tree which belongs to the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family. The jackfruit tree bears the largest fruit of all trees and can reach weights of up to 55kg! Green Jackfruit specifically is the young/green Jackfruit before it reaches maturity.

What Does It Taste Like?

The young fruit has a meaty texture and mild taste when cooked, which makes it a good replacement for meat. The ripe fruit is much sweeter and is used in desserts.

A great thing about green jackfruits is they don’t have a strong flavour on their own, so they’re able to soak up herbs, spices, and other flavourings which is why it can be used as a meat alternative as they can mimic the flavour once spiced correctly.

This versatility allows the fruit to be made into plant-based versions of shredded chicken, pulled pork, or other meat-based meals.

What Are The Benefits of Jackfruit?

While not high in protein, Jackfruit is high in fibre, vitamins, magnesium and antioxidants. Because of its meaty texture, it is a good swap for some meat-based recipes, although you might need to add another source of protein. Because it is high in fibre it can aid in digestion where its calcium content may help prevent osteoporosis.

Other Benefits Include:

  • Good for your immune system with a moderate level of vitamin C.
  • Boost energy levels with vitamin B6.
  • Helps maintain blood pressure and heart health due to the high level of potassium.
  • Improves skin health and reduces visible signs of ageing due to the water content found in Green Jackfruit which can naturally moisturise the skin and the antioxidants help with slowing the ageing process.
  • Good for bone health as it is high in calcium.

Where To Find Green Jackfruit?

While fresh Jackfruit is not common on South African fresh food shelves, you will find canned Green Jackfruit via online retailers that specializes in healthy food and food alternatives as well as some pulled Jackfruit products in some brick and mortar stores.