Introducing jackfruit, the meat substitute vegans love

Jackfruit, superfood, nutrition, pulled pork
Image: iStock

It’s big, bumpy and smelly, but also one of the most versatile fruit available. Originating from India, the jackfruit is the largest tree-fruit in the world, and can grow up to 35 kilos.  It’s rendered a “miracle” crop, capable of solving starvation problems partly due to its generous size, but also because of the many ways you can cook it. The Bengali delicacy has provided nourishment for families in many regions of Southeast Asia. Yet, this humungous superfood is still mostly unknown to westerners.

What you need to know about jackfruit

Jackfruit, superfood, fruit, nutrition
Image: iStock

Sporteluxe’s own resident nutritionist, Michelle Pellizon, gave us the down low on this under appreciated superfood.

Jackfruit is a really popular meat substitute because of its texture; it absorbs flavours really nicely. The nutritional value varies depending on when you eat it during its ripeness, but a 100-g serving is about 95 calories. It’s got about 25 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin B6, and potassium, B1, B2, folate, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, and dietary fibre.

It can be eaten ripe, in which case it taste like a combination of pineapple, mango and banana, or unripe, taking on a potato-like consistency and taste. The hundreds of bulbs that are contained in the actual fruit have highly nutritional seeds, which can be roasted and eaten as a snack (curbing all those unhealthy sugar cravings!), or used in curries and stews in place of lentils.

It’s not your average fruit

A quick Google search on jackfruit and you’ll find endless images of BBQ pulled pork. According to Business Insider Australia, it’s smells like sweet rotten onions and tastes like pulled pork. Not something we imagine to be appetising, but the trend seems to be popular among vegans and vegetarians who use it to make pseudo-pulled pork sandwiches.

Image: iStock
Image: iStock

But don’t be fooled by it’s meaty taste. Michelle explains jackfruit doesn’t quite match up to other high protein legume; “Jackfruit doesn’t have much protein, so if you’re looking for a meat substitute it might be better to go with other vegan protein options like nuts, seitan, or beans.”

The sheer size of the jackfruit makes it an ideal family meal. From pork burgers, to curries or even ice cream and baking flour (by grind the seeds), the jackfruit is extremely versatile, not to mention keeps you fuller longer (so no after hours snacking!). However,  storage can be tricky since it only keeps for a couple of weeks after harvest.

Jackfruit is available in some U.S and Australian farmers markets, and we can’t wait to get out hands on this giant superfood and taste test it for ourselves!

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Andrea is a qualified yoga instructor and writer. With an international background, she grew up on a small island in the Caribbean and speaks both fluent French and English. She now enjoys an active life on the northern beaches of Sydney, as an avid enthusiast of all things surf, yoga, travel and photography. Writing is her favourite way to channel her positive energy and hopes to inspire people towards a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle. Andrea graduated from Paris Business School and Australian Catholic university with a Bachelor of Business, and is currently pursuing her post-grad in Journalism at UTS.