I seriously never would have tried jackfruit if it wasn’t for Daily Vegan Lunch. I have been forced to expand my repertoire to come up with new and creative lunches. So instead of cutting freaky looking jackfruit a wide berth in the Korean grocery store, I bought one!
I first heard of jackfruit in vegan cuisine being used as veggie meat in a vegan pulled pork recipe somewhere on the internet. I looked for it at the Korean grocery store but found only the sweetened tins of jackfruit that supposedly do not work at all for vegan pulled pork. About a week later I saw actual jackfruit sitting in a bin. This is what it looks like in the wild:
Jackfruit tree is related to the mulberry (who knew) and grows in tropical lowlands. They are cultivated in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, the Philippines, across Africa, and in the Caribbean. Their fruits can be up to 80 pounds!
This is what I brought home from the store:
Then I cut it — there are giant seeds that are edible but I did not eat them.
So I was dying of curiosity at this point and I tried a piece. Maybe it was just the one I bought, but jackfruit is very bland and weirdly sticky. Kind of like… chicken. That is why jackfruit is so disturbing. It should be called chickenfruit or porkfruit. The flesh is decidedly porcine. Not stinky, disgusting, like bloody and veiny animal flesh, just MEATY in the weirdest way. It’s kind of like an artichoke or heart of palm yet it shreds like chicken. The reason? Jackfruit is mostly fiber and no fat. Animal flesh has zero fiber and huge amounts of fat: like jackfruit in reverse. Zero fiber and huge amounts of fat are why animal products cause so much disease.
The plant fibers are what give jackfruit its weird, meaty texture.
I cut the rest up, taking the seeds and the hard outer skin off:
1/4 of a jackfruit is enough to feed a small army! Basically, jackfruit convinced me nobody ever needs to eat meat again. It tastes eerily like meat, it is overwhelmingly full of cancer-fighting fiber, and one of the damn things could probably feed 20 people for a week!