So, this is a 17 pound jackfruit. We talked about them this week on the morning show while I filled in for Christine Nagy, and it made me curious enough to go and find one.
Why? The Jackfruit is a rich source of vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, antioxidants, electrolytes, fiber, and protein. It's the national fruit of Bangladesh and well known in South Asia. However, it remains unknown and strange to many of us in the U.S.,
We heard the fruit clears up skin, promotes hair growth, boosts energy and improves digestion. Were told the flowers tasted like mango, the seeds like potatoes, and the tendons could be cooked as a vegan substitute for pulled pork. Of course, I had to try it!
The most difficult part of the day was opening and coring the fruit. There's a gooey latex film in the core that gets on everything. I took the advice of smearing my hands and knives with coconut oil before I started, but that didn't solve the problem entirely. It took some effort to clean my knives afterwards, even using baking soda, which usually cleans everything. I'd avoid using a serrated blade, which may be impossible to clean. What you see above are two quarters of the raw jackfruit with the core intact--that has to be removed to get to the fruit. It's not easy. The nuts can be eaten as a snack once the skins are removed. I boiled them, and yeah, they tasted just like new potatoes.
Above, are the two other quarters of the jackfruit. The lower one has the core removed but the flowers--the orange portions--are still in the flesh. They're easy enough to twist out of the white fibrous tendons, which you see in the top of the image. There's probably a neater way to take the flowers out, but it took me about 30 minutes to get to this point, so I didn't really care how they looked anymore.
Above, I'd separated the tendons from the fruits. The fruit tastes almost exactly like mango crossed with a bit of banana. It's a bit spongy and not juicy at all. After taking the fruit apart only halfway, I ended up with about 3 pounds!
I used a cup of fruit to make a smoothie with peaches, strawberries, plain yogurt, honey, coconut and water. Loved it! I also used a pound to make sorbet. I followed a recipe for strawberry sorbet because they have about the same quality of sweetness, but the end result is frankly so overly sweet, it's almost inedible. I haven't decided what to do with it yet. The rest will probably end up in smoothies, and sliced on top of an Asian salad, as you'd use a mango. It should keep in the fridge for about a week. I'll freeze the other half of the jackfruit, which should be good for about two months.
The small dish of white strands are the tendons that became BBQ. I used a pair of kitchen scissors to take them out--a knife won't do. Once I dug them out, it took about 45 minutes to make the recipe. I didn't take a photo of my final result-but it was delicious, and yep, very similar to pulled pork! (Meat eaters Victor Sosa, Bob Bronson and our Producer Jamie agreed.)
I found the recipe at Moreveganblog.com. My final result looked a lot like theirs--this isn't false advertising! Two notes though: More often than not, jackfruit BBQ recipes are written for canned fruit. You can find the canned version online and at some Asian stores. While I used fresh, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. Most message boards say the canned BBQ is more authentic to pulled pork (if that matters to you), and the raw fruit is not only difficult to cut apart, it is very expensive: I paid $50.11 for a 17-pound fruit, which was the smallest I could find. Not sure I would do it again. More Vegan Blog was one of the few sites to have a recipe for both canned and fresh jackfruit--be sure you follow the proper one for your ingredients and adjust for amounts.
In the end, I ate my BBQ on tortillas with a little tomato and avocado. It really was delicious. You could absolutely serve it up for the 4th of July, and become a hero to your vegetarian guests! However, as it's already July 1st, given the time it will take to cut that thing apart, I'd start now!