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What is Jackfruit? A Quick Guide

What is Jackfruit?

Weighing up to 453 grams per fruit, Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, native to many parts of South-East Asia, Africa and South America and is particularly notable for its consumption in Thailand. To fresh western eyes, it’s natural appearance can be a little intimidating with thick, bumping skin that needs to be peeled to reach the portions of Jackfruit fruit flesh. Fortunately though, most jackfruit is sold prepped (peeled, and portions) and packaged, ready for consumption or to use in recipes.

What does Jackfruit taste like?

Like most other fruits, jackfruit is sweet and it’s flavour can be likened to a combination of banana, mango and pineapple. At its ripest state, jackfruit can be significantly sweet. So much so that it’s seeds or pits can be boiled or roasted and eaten alone to snack or used in recipes. The taste of the seeds is subtly sweet, milky and nutty. 

What are the health benefits and the nutritional value of Jackfruit?

Jackfruit is known to be a great source of Vitamin C, which has many benefits for the immune system, strength of bones and teeth, as well as contributing to the absorption of other essential nutrients such as iron. Jackfruit is also rich in nutrients such as niacin, Vitamin B6, folic acid, potassium , calcium and magnesium; making it a nutritious fruit suitable for most diets. This fruit only contains 94 calories per 100 grams of fruit, and provides roughly 3g of protein per 100g of fruit compared to 0-1g in other fruits like apples and mangoes. 

Does Jackfruit need to be cooked?

As a fruit, Jackfruit does not need to be cooked. It can be enjoyed in its raw form as a snack, alone or with other similar fruits and for desserts. However, Jackfruit is also a very popular meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians. It’s stringy flesh resembles that of meat, specifically pulled pork or chicken pieces. When cooked, the texture of Jackfruit absorbs the flavours typically used to marinade meat. Everything from all purpose marinade, meat satay or bbq sauce pair very well with cooked Jackfruit to create flavours even meat lovers would enjoy. 

Young (Green) Jackfruit, Fresh Jackfruit or Canned Jackfruit?

Canned Jackfruit

While most people know Jackfruit best in it’s ripe state, it’s important to note that Jackfruit is also eaten when it’s young, unripe. This is when it’s known as green Jackfruit and it has a completely different flavour and texture to ripe Jackfruit. You will commonly find green Jackfruit available in fresh or canned with brine. It’s advisable to rinse canned young green Jackfruit because the brine usually has added salt for preservation. You don’t want the salt to affect the flavour in your recipes. Young Jackfruit is the most commonly used form of Jackfruit in meat substitute recipes from curries, stir-fries, BBQ pulled ‘pork’ and burritos. 

As mentioned before, ripe Jackfruit is typically really sweet and can be used in desserts. In Thai cuisine, ripe Jackfruit is sometimes served with desserts such as Red Rubies or ‘Tub Tim Grob’. Ripe jackfruit can also be found in its fresh form or canned much like green unripe jackfruit. However, the key difference is that ripe jackfruit is usually canned in syrup to compliment its readily sweet flavour. You will not find ripe Jackfruit submerged in brine or young/green Jackfruit submerged in syrup. Ripe jackfruit can sometimes also be canned with other Thai and South-East Asian fruits such as toddy palm. 

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