Include jackfruit in your diet. Did you know that it can also be a meat substitute?

The ancient jackfruit can be both salty and sweet, depending on how ripe it is.

Do you want to know how to prepare it correctly?

What are its health benefits?

And how is it different from durian?

All this and much more in our article!

What exactly is jackfruit?

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a tropical fruit grown in Asia, Africa and South America. It is even the national fruit in Bangladesh. It belongs to the same family as figs and mulberries. Beneath the thick, bumpy rind is a fibrous pulp that you can eat raw or cooked in a variety of dishes.

Jackfruit is the largest fruit growing in the world, weighing up to 18 kg and more, and can grow up to an incredible meter in length. Fortunately, you can also buy it portioned in a bag or canned in a can. It is increasingly being used as a vegetarian meat substitute around the world.

Whole fresh jackfruit and half jackfruit.

What does jackfruit taste like?

The taste varies depending on whether it is a ripe or unripe jackfruit. Young, unripe jackfruit is very tender. Its neutral flavor usually pairs well with spicier dishes – often used as a substitute for pulled pork or chicken.

Ripe jackfruit, on the other hand, has a sweet taste. The taste is similar to other tropical fruits such as mango or pineapple and is great in smoothies.

Health benefits and side effects of eating jackfruit

In addition to containing the typical mix of vitamins and minerals found in most any fruit, jackfruit is a great source of magnesium, vitamin B6 and antioxidants . Since it has a meaty texture when cooked, you can easily substitute it for meat in many recipes, although it is important to note that jackfruit is not particularly high in protein , which is lower than other meat alternatives such as tofu. However, the advantage is that, unlike animal sources of protein , jackfruit contains no saturated fat or cholesterol, is low in sodium , and also low in calories . Regular consumption of jackfruit helps boost immunity and the antioxidants that jackfruit contains, in turn, help fight cancer, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, help prevent osteoporosis, and improve digestion.

However, jackfruit is not safe for everyone. It should be avoided by individuals with allergies to latex or birch pollen. Both of these allergies can have a cross-reaction with jackfruit. Jackfruit also contains a lot of potassium , which can be harmful to people with chronic kidney disease or acute kidney failure.

Nutritional values of jackfruit

In the following table, see the nutritional value of fresh jackfruit in 100 grams.

Nutritional values Jackfruit
Energy 95 calories
Fats 0.6 g
Carbohydrates 23 g
Sugars 19 g
Fiber 1.5 g
Proteins 1.7 g

Vitamins and minerals in jackfruit

Also look at the amount of minerals and vitamins that 100 grams of fresh jackfruit contains.

Vitamins and minerals Jackfruit
% of the recommended daily dose
Vitamin A 5.00 mcg 1%
Vitamin B1 0.105 mg 9%
Vitamin B2 0.055 mg 4%
Vitamin B3 0.920 mg 6%
Vitamin B5 0.235 mg 5%
Vitamin B6 0.329 mg 19%
Vitamin B9 24.00 mcg 6%
Vitamin C 13.7 mg 15%
Vitamin E 0.34 mg 2%
Calcium 24.00 mg 2%
Copper 0.08 mg 9%
Iron 0.23 mg 1%
Magnesium 29.00 mg 7%
Manganese 0.043 mg 2%
Phosphorus 21.00 mg 2%
Potassium 448.00 mg 10%
Sodium 2.00 mg 2%
Zinc 0.13 mg 1%

Where to buy jackfruit and how to store it?

The easiest way to buy fresh jackfruit here is in the Sapa market in Prague. Processed (dried or canned) they sell in Asian grocery stores or you can get it online. If you want jackfruit as a meat substitute, be sure to look for canned goods labeled as green or young jackfruit.

If you get fresh jackfruit, let it ripen for a while if it is not already. If you want to enjoy it still unripe, process it as quickly as possible and possibly freeze it. Sliced, ripe jackfruit can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for about a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

How to use jackfruit in the kitchen?

When unripe, jackfruit has a neutral flavor that pairs well with savory dishes. You can use it, for example, in a vegetarian curry or instead of tofu or chickpeas. But it tastes best in a sandwich, where it perfectly imitates pulled pork or chicken. Add it also to tacos, burritos, omelets or fried chips. Spiced jackfruit is great in soups or stewed meat mixtures.

Be inspired by our luxurious recipes for meatless lunches , which not only vegetarians will enjoy.

For a change , ripe jackfruit is more suitable as a snack or added to sweet dishes. It tastes great, for example, in a smoothie, mixed with yogurt or added to ice cream.

The easiest way to prepare jackfruit is to buy it ready-made . However, if you’re feeling up to it and have managed to get your hands on some fresh jackfruit, roll up your sleeves and let’s do it! Start by cutting the jackfruit in half and using your hands to remove the pods and seeds. Jackfruit pods can be eaten raw or cooked. Try pan-frying them or tossing them in a slow cooker with a spicy sauce. You can roast the seeds in a pan and then add them to a salad, smoothie, hummus or just eat them on their own. The inside of jackfruit can be pretty sticky, so gloves will come in handy. Experts also recommend oiling the knife and work surface before cutting the jackfruit.

Sliced jackfruit and a bowl of sliced jackfruit with a knife next to it.

If you opt for prepared jackfruit, it will most likely come in a can or bag .

How to cook canned jackfruit?

  1. Take canned unripe jackfruit in water or brine.
  2. Drain the liquid.
  3. If you have opted for the brine version, rinse the pieces thoroughly under running water as they may have an unpleasant taste.
  4. Then pull the pieces apart with your fingers so that the jackfruit has a texture like pulled pork, chicken or beef.
  5. Because it is unripe, the fruit may have harder parts.
  6. We recommend adding them to a blender or food processor to chop them before adding them to the crushed jackfruit mixture.
  7. Rinse the sliced jackfruit thoroughly in cold water to remove all traces of the pickle.
  8. Add chopped jackfruit to unsalted boiling water and cook for at least 10 minutes to soften.
  9. When done, rinse thoroughly again (you want to remove any lingering pickle flavor
  10. Drain and dry with a clean cloth.
  11. You now have your basic jackfruit mixture. This is where you can get creative and customize your jackfruit to your liking.

For example, mix jackfruit with BBQ spices and fry. Then add some barbecue sauce and serve in buns with a vegan salad. Alternatively, mix it with Mexican seasoning, tomato paste and fresh cilantro to create a filling for fajitas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas or nachos. There are plenty of options. Another simple marinade can be made by mixing olive oil, lemon juice, white vinegar, honey, garlic and herbs. Brush the grated jackfruit with the resulting marinade and leave to cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (up to 6 hours for a more intense taste).

Now you can:

  • spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes
  • pan fry with smoky BBQ sauce
  • fry while stirring constantly
  • add to slow cooker along with other vegetables and legumes
Shredded jackfruit served on a plate with corn, beans and fresh herbs.

More tips on how to use jackfruit

  • Lightly fry the grated marinated jackfruit in a little oil until brown and then add it to the pizza along with halved cherry tomatoes, cheese, chopped olives, arugula and a little balsamic vinegar.
  • Fry the jackfruit along with the onion, garlic and spices for a few minutes. Add the drained beans, tomatoes, bay leaf and vegetable stock and cook for about 20 minutes.
  • You can mash the grated jackfruit together with finely chopped scallions, cannellini beans, cooked sweet potato, herbs and some plain flour and then shape into a patty . Fry for 3 minutes on each side and then serve with a green salad.
  • Sauté the onion, garlic, spices, vegetables and chopped tomatoes, then add the grated jackfruit to the pot and cook for 20 minutes until soft . Don’t forget to marinate the jackfruit beforehand in your favorite spices – garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric and curry – all work together to add a good color to the jackfruit.

Also try one of our recipes for meatless vegetarian goulash . It’s a delicacy!

Jackfruit cultivation

Jackfruit grows on a tropical tree called the breadfruit of the mulberry family . It can reach a height of up to 24.5 meters and can produce 100 to 200 jackfruits per year. It is most commonly grown in India, Burma, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, Kenya, Uganda and Mauritius. It can also be found in Brazil, Jamaica, the Bahamas, South Florida, and Hawaii.

In our conditions, you can only grow breadfruit as a houseplant.

Jackfruits growing on a tree.

What is the difference between jackfruit and durian?

Jackfruit and durian both have a green, hard skin that hides yellow to orange edible flesh. Both also contain several seeds that are hidden under the flesh. They grow on medium to large trees that are commonly found in tropical areas. But that’s where their similarity ends. So how do they differ from each other? Look at the following table.

Characteristics Jackfruit Durian
Appearance It is larger than a durian and its skin has spikes that are small and harmless. It is smaller than a jackfruit and has a hard, spiny skin that can injure you.
Season They can be harvested up to 2 times a year. Harvesting takes place once a year.
Taste and texture Sweet and somewhat crunchy. Sweet, creamy and softer.
Scent Significantly sweet, some describe it as similar to banana or pineapple bubblegum with a bit of rotten onion. It is often compared to smelly socks, sewage, rotten eggs or turpentine.
A collage of two pictures - the first one is a sliced jackfruit and the second one is a durian.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)