Have you only recently heard of jackfruit and want to start getting to use it? Or you’re used to eating it from the can and want to give fresh jackfruit a go? Either way, there are a few ways you can eat jackfruit! You want to make sure you are using it right first time, and not wasting any. This is the complete guide on how to know how ripe your jackfruit is, what way you should be preparing it for different purposes, and even how to prepare fresh jackfruit! It is the perfect substitute for pulled pork or shredded chicken.
Table of Contents
- What is Jackfruit?
- How Does Jackfruit Taste?
- How Do You Know When A Jackfruit is Ripe?
- How Do You Prepare Jackfruit?
- Will a Jackfruit Ripen After You Have Picked it?
- Tips on How To Ripen Jackfruit More Quickly
- And There You Have It!
What is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is actually the largest tree fruit in the world. It originally grows in South and Southeast Asia. Some individual fruit have reached weights of up to 120 lbs to 55kg!
Often confused with durian, which also has a green spiky exterior, jackfruit actually originates from the Moraceae family species. This actually makes it the same family as figs! It is very popular in the Asian markets and has many nutritional benefits.
While before jackfruit was only grown in South and Southeast Asia, its growing popularity has called for it to be grown here in the US and Mexico where the climate will allow. Since its surgency in the plant-based community, this has made it much more accessible for US consumers. It is a great vegetarian alternative to pulled pork due to its meaty texture.
How Does Jackfruit Taste?
The taste of jackfruit will actually depend on whether the fruit is ripe or not, because unlike many fruit, it can be enjoyed both ripe and unripe.
Ripe jackfruit tastes similar to many other tropical fruit, such as mango or pineapple. Before it has ripened, it has a more neutral flavor, but if you marinade in other flavors, it will easily soak up the flavor. This makes it super versatile and you can manipulate the flavor to taste how you want!
If you cook jackfruit in a broth, the fruit will completely soak up the flavor of your broth too. For this reason, this makes jackfruit an excellent meat substitute for shredded chicken when cooking. This has made it super popular in the vegetarian community.
How Do You Know When A Jackfruit is Ripe?
Jackfruit has a bright yellow appearance when it is ripe. The majority of the fruit is comprised of large pods. Once the pods have been separated from the jackfruit’s rind and core, you can remove the seeds from the pods so that all you are left with is the sweet, yellow flesh. The seeds can actually be eaten too but it is personal preference.
Ripe jackfruit has a chewy, stringy texture with a unique flavor which could be compared to that of a hybrid of pineapple, banana, and mango.
Unripe jackfruit has a much more paler, off-white color and is very neutral in flavor. Unripe jackfruit is actually useful for cooking as a meat alternative and used in plant-based recipes. The pods and seeds are actually smaller in unripe jackfruit because it is not fully developed.
You can also tell that a jackfruit is ripe by its smell. It will emit a very sweet scent that’s uniquely its own, but familiar to us if we’ve smelled ripe fruit.
Sometimes a ripe jackfruit also splits open on its own, ready to be consumed.
How Do You Prepare Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a super versatile fruit due to the fact it can be eaten both ripe and unripe. It is important to know how it should be prepared. Then, you can utilize it properly whether you are enjoying it unripe or ripe!
How To Break Down a Whole jackfruit
- Using a large knife, cut the entire fruit lengthwise down the middle so you have halved the fruit.
- Note: Jackfruit has very sticky sap and to save your hands from it. It is best to wear gloves and lightly oil the utensils you’re using so you can easily prepare the fruit.
- Cut both of the halves again lengthwise so that you have quarter wedges.
- In the center of the fruit, you will see a large core which needs to be cut away next. Remove the core to enable you to bend back each wedge, which will loosen ad separate the pods from each other.
- After this step, it should be pretty easy yo remove the pods from the outer spiky rind. The seeds can now be removed from each pod. You can always just leave the seeds in as they are edible, or you could remove them and roast them as a nutty, tasty snack!
Will a Jackfruit Ripen After You Have Picked it?
Yes, jackfruit will continue to ripen after you have picked it from the tree. Fruit always follow a natural ripening process after it has been picked. This ensures maximum nutrition. It also optimizes the vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, sweetness, and flavor.
It is often impractical to leave fruit in the tree to come to full ripeness. For example, animals may come and steal the fruit off the trees before they reach their full ripeness. Also, if the fruit were to reach full ripeness on the tree, there would only be a very small window for transporting the fruit from the tree to to the shop, to your house. This is why fruit is usually underripe when you buy it in the shop!
Tips on How To Ripen Jackfruit More Quickly
Jackfruit can be made to ripen more quickly by placing the fruit in a bag with some other fruit which are already ripe. Bananas are a great option for this. If you leave the fruit for 24 hours, then the jackfruit should be ripe by then. The ethylene gas which is produced by already ripe fruit helps to ripen other fruit. This will speed up the ripening process of your jackfruit.
You can tell that your fruit is ripe because it starts to give off a strong distinct smell. The skin of the fruit will also give way a little when pressed with your fingers.
Mature fruit ripens in 3-10 days when stored at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celcius).
Unripe, young, green jackfruit is also really good consumed after it has been marinaded for a while. it has a neutral flavor and easily absorbs the flavor you want to cook it in.
And There You Have It!
Now its your turn! Use this easy way to prepare your jackfruit and let me know how it goes for you in the comments! If you would like to check out some other previous blog posts of mine related to similar topics, check them out below!