Summer means it’s time for barbeques, bikinis, and basking in the sun!
If you’re looking for a delicious remix on meat-heavy dishes for a cookout that also leave you feeling healthy and ready for the pool, look no further than jackfruit.
Jack-who, you say?
Jackfruit is your new best friend when it comes to meat-substitution because of its high protein, low-calorie content, offering a meaty texture and versatile taste. Stay fit and meat-free with this nutrient-dense fruit!
What is jackfruit?
Jackfruit is the world’s largest tree-growing fruit, some weighing up to 100 pounds! It’s thought to have originated in India, but is now grown across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and South America. Related to mulberry and breadfruit, jackfruit is a large round fruit with hard, bumpy green skin and light-colored flesh surrounding seeds.
When not ripened, it has a mild, meat-like taste with a stringy, pull-apart texture. Ripe jackfruit, on the other hand, tastes comparative to tropical fruits like bananas and pineapples, with a softer texture. The fruit itself has a distinct aroma similar to that of an overripe fruit.
Typically, fresh jackfruit can be found at specialty Asian grocers, while the canned flesh can be purchased online in water.
What are the benefits of consuming jackfruit?
Jackfruit is, hands down, a nutritional powerhouse. It is high in protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and magnesium. Vegans should note that a serving of jackfruit lends a good portion of plant-based protein and vitamin B, which are essential to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
The best part? Eating half a cup has about 95 calories, making it a very efficient food and nutrition source - especially helpful for those looking to lose weight!
How can I use jackfruit?
Because of its meaty texture, ability to soak up flavors, and nutritional content, jackfruit makes a wonderful meat substitute.
The easiest way to find jackfruit is in the canned form purchased online or from a local Asian grocer, but be sure to purchase it in water rather than salty brine or sugary syrup.
Try draining it, cutting the core off of the flesh, and cooking in a barbecue sauce for a plant-based pulled “pork” substitute. These are wonderful served with gut-friendly sauerkraut and a whole-grain bun for a cookout!
Alternatively, look to add a ripened jackfruit to your smoothies for a boost of protein and vitamin B6 (try substituting it in this green pineapple detox smoothie). Or keep it tropical and add it to a mango, spinach, and coconut smoothie!
Jackfruit is extremely versatile - it can be added to curries and soups, dried into chips, made into an ice cream, ground up into nutrient-rich flour for baking, or enjoyed on tacos!
So when it comes to meat alternatives, skip the processed, soy-heavy, GMO-laden faux-meat products and opt instead to make your own! Jackfruit is the perfect meat-free protein because it’s a whole food that soaks up any flavor you’d like.
Keep your summer health goals in mind while winning any barbecue fan over with this superfood!