It's been praised as a "sustainable vegan meat replacement" and is poised to become this year's biggest food craze. But what is jackfruit - and how can you enjoy it?
It's big, yellow (or green), and has a strange smell. In fact, jackfruit is the world's largest tree-borne fruit - weighing up to 45 kilos. The exotic fruit is native to South America and Southeast Asia, but is now being imported all around the world. There, it's celebrated as a "miracle crop" because it can withstand drought and pests, making it ideal for solving the hunger crisis - and replacing crops that may become threatened by climate change.
Jackfruit leaves are often used to feed livestock, while the substance the jackfruit tree produces has been used as glue.
But it seems the West has only recently cottoned on to its enormous health benefits.
How to eat jackfruit
So, why is jackfruit being lauded as a vegan meat replacement? Because it has an uncanny resemblance to pulled pork! Strangely enough, the fruit is perfect for savoury meals, thanks to its stringy appearance and tangy taste that soaks up any sauce you slather on it.
As well as pulled pork, you can use jackfruit in stews, casseroles, and as a meat alternative in almost any fish you can think of.
Health benefits of jackfruit
Thankfully, jackfruit isn't just sustainable. It's also incredibly healthy. It has no cholesterol or saturated fat like pork, and has 3g of fibre per serve. It's also packed with potassium, which is great for heart health.
Jackfruit also have the following health benefits:
- improves immunity
- replenishes energy
- ensures a better cardiovascular health and a regulated blood pressure
- improves digestion
- prevents cancer
- enhances vision
- prevents ageing
- strengthens bones
- improves blood quality
- prevents/controls asthma
- ensures a high functioning thyroid
- treats skin diseases and fever
So the next time you're at the fruit market, keep an eye out for jackfruit. You might just find it replaces meat in your next meal (and the kids will never know).