Artocarpus heterophyllus or more commonly known as Jackfruit is simply put, a super fruit that is predicted to take over the agriculture industry. It may seem like a bold statement to make but after knowing what Jackfruit can provide, it will no longer come as a surprise.
The health benefits and nutrients that Jackfruit contains exceed expectations. Shaymala Reddy, a biotechnology researcher at the University of Agriculture Sciences in Bangalore, India calls the fruit a miracle for the lack of a better word. “It can provide so many Nutrients and Calories and everything you need”. 165 grams of Jackfruit contains 2.4 grams of protein, 2.6 grams of fiber and around 190 calories making it both filling and nutritious.
The high fibre content of jackfruit acts as a laxative which helps your colon from clogging up. This helps fight infections, colds and flu as well as fights free radicals that can weaken your immune system. Just like a superhero fighting crime and keeping the streets safe, Jackfruit keeps you safe. No wonder people call it the Superfruit!
Is it really not meat? Customers that have tasted our products get baffled that it is not meat. Young Jackfruit are generally tasteless and take up the flavouring and sauces that they are put into. However, it is the consistency and texture of Jackfruit that make it ideal as a meat alternative. It is as if you are eating chicken without the environmental and ethical concerns of consuming poultry or any other meats.
All across the globe people are opening up vegan restaurants that use Jackfruit as the base of their delicacies. In LA, Sussan Feniger’s street food uses it in their steam buns and in London, Club Mexicana puts Jackfruit in their Vegetarian burritos. On the Other side of the world, Australian Restaurant owner, Allie Pyke uses Jackfruit to make her signature Hawaiian Burger. We are proud to introduce Jackfruit in the form of a Vegetarian Burger or “Vurger” for short right here in Malaysia.
You can use Jackfruit in any chicken-based dish and it does not make the dish any less tasty. While people are still trying to adjust to tofu and tempeh as meat substitutes, Jackfruit is on its way to take the lead. It makes the transition way easier as it does not taste like fake meat. You do not have to be a vegetarian or vegan to love Jackfruit!
What Are the Benefits of Jackfruit?
It’s big and bumpy with a gooey interior and a powerful smell of decay – but it could help keep millions of people from hunger. Researchers say jackfruit – a large ungainly fruit grown across south and south-east Asia – could be a replacement for wheat, corn and other staple crops under threat from climate change.
That is beginning to change, however, with a growing number of researchers looking for alternatives. The effort coincides with a global push to expand food production, especially in developing countries which are expected to face growing challenges to feed their people in the coming decades.
Jackfruit can fill the gap on a number of counts, said Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank, which works on sustainable agriculture. “It is easy to grow. It survives pests and diseases and high temperatures. It is drought-resistant,” she said. “It achieves what farmers need in food production when facing a lot of challenges under climate change.”
Geen jackfruit: is ‘pulled for vegetarians’ the next big food craze?
Late last year, after 18 years of litigation, a senior government official in Kerala, south-west India was given a prison sentence after being convicted of theft. The object he stole was government property, and it was so large he had to have it cut up to get it home. A piece of art, perhaps? A precious metal? Actually, it was a 40-year-old jackfruit tree, and, once you’ve tasted its fruit, you begin to understand why he did it.
To say the jackfruit is big is an understatement. It is the largest tree-borne fruit on the planet – it isn’t unusual to come across beasts weighing up to 35kg in South America and South-east Asia. And it has been hailed as a “miracle crop” because of its size, and resistance to pests and drought. And its nutritional credentials are also impressive: researchers have suggested it could replace wheat, corn and other staple crops that may come under threat because of climate change.
Once you get through its tough, green, knobbly exterior, you’re hit with a faint whiff of onion, sticky sap and odd looking seed pods that taste like a cross between a pineapple and a pear. So far, so fruity. But what really sets the jackfruit apart is what it can do to savoury dishes, especially its ability to imitate pulled pork after several hours on the hob.
Entertainment magazine E! cited it as a “hot new vegan ingredient” after spotting it taking pork belly’s place in baos (steamed buns) at Susan Feniger’s Street Food in LA. In London, vegan street-food and supper-club contingent Club Mexicanauses it in burritos and tacos to delicious effect. It’s their most popular dish by far, and suppliers are struggling to keep up with demand. Cook and owner Meriel Armitage says that customers often think it’s meat and are “always amazed it isn’t pulled pork”. She learned about the ingredient when working at one of London’s oldest vegan cafes. “It has been used for years by veterans of the vegan scene, but it has been kept a bit of a chef’s secret”. Pulled jackfruit is made from the younger fruit – “green jackfruit”, widely sold in tins and, thankfully, much easier to carry home from work than a bad smelling lump the size of a child. Meat substitutes are 10 a penny these days, ranging from gluten based seitan, to soy-based tofu, to the wide variety of disturbingly realistic meat-flavoured Quorn products on offer. But jackfruit wins hands down. This all-natural, non processed ingredient has fibrous flesh that can take on almost any flavour – green jackfruit can replace carnitas in tacos, braised beef in burritos, spiced lamb topping for flatbreads.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, although, with jackfruit, that can prove difficult when the eater harbours deep suspicions about its meaty appearance. One host on American network WISH-TV refused to believe his barbecue jackfruit slider was vegan, and, through mouthfuls of sandwich, called the guest chef who prepared the dish a liar.
Get hold of a few cans – you can find it in Asian food stores and the world-food shelves in many big supermarkets – and give it a try. (But go for the green jackfruit, not the kind in syrup.) And if you happen to share dinners with an anti-vegetarian, they never have to know.