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Health Food of the month - Jackfruit

October 2019


Jackfruit

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Prawns

Barley

Radishes


 

Diet & Supplements Index

Jackfruit is one of these so called “new” foods that wasn’t even heard of when we were young, but now it is increasingly being used not only by vegans and vegetarians, but in mainstream cooking as well. The reason for its sudden rush to fame is that it is an environmentally friendly plant as well as hugely nutritious.

Jackfruit is believed to have originated in the rain forests of the Western Ghats of India, but then spread across southeast Asia. Today it is grown on a much wider scale including in Brazil, Surinam and eastern Africa.

It is part of the Moraceae plant family, which also includes fig, mulberry and breadfruit. It has a spiky outer skin and is green or yellow in colour; but more than anything, it is recognised as being good for the planet.  It is naturally drought and pest-resistant, plus it requires no artificial irrigation, pesticides or herbicides to thrive. In fact, it is very easy to grow and even better, the fruit itself is huge...a single jackfruit can grow up to 100 pounds. This makes it an exciting high-yield crop for farmers.  One down side is that the whole fruit doesn’t smell particularly nice, a little like an off onion, so generally they need to be prepared before they are sold which adds a little to the overall cost. Usually the flesh or fruit pods are the parts of the fruit that are eaten, but the seeds are also safe to eat.

Jackfruit offers all sorts of nutritional benefits. Just a cup full of the fruit will offer 3 grams of protein plus good levels of vitamin A and C; riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese. A cup full also offers 3 grams of fibre and only 155 calories.  Jackfruit is also rich in several types of antioxidants.

The taste is generally sweet, some say it is alike a combination of pineapple with banana, with a soft and spring texture. There are different varieties which range from very soft to quite crisp and crunchy.
Vegans and vegetarians often use this fruit as a meat substitute due to its texture, which is comparable to shredded meat.

It is already very common across Asia, where jackfruit is used in many different recipes and traditionally has been bought fresh but today is also canned, frozen and in products such as noodles. Here in the UK mainstream supermarkets are beginning to stock jackfruit although it is still mainly available in tinned or dried products. However fresh jackfruit is beginning to be imported through specialist shops, although generally this is only used in sweet dishes.

There is a lot of information about jackfruit now appearing on line, including at:
https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/how-to-cook-and-prepare-jackfruit

Fresh jackfruit is available from online shops such as Thai Food Online

Cooking ideas for jackfruit can be found at:
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/vegan-pulled-jackfruit
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/healthy/g4898/best-jackfruit-recipes-for-vegetarians/

 


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