I’ll just say, right away, that jackfruit doesn’t taste like pulled pork, or any other meat to me. Try passing it off as such if you’d like, but I seriously doubt you’d fool anyone. A meat substitute? Well that depends…
If your expectation is that it taste exactly like some type of meat, then I’d say, no, it isn’t for you. However, if you’re looking for something that can replace meat as a side or main course. Or taste great in a pita, then it’s worth a try. It can be subbed for meat, just as well as mushrooms in my opinion. Different taste,and different texture, but I think it works just as well.
I had roughly half a jackfruit. I used two different pieces, as they were only sold in pieces in cellophane wrap at the vegetable market. It’s a very fibrous fruit, half of which is inedible. The roundish looking parts, with the seeds in the middle (the pods) are the edible parts. The seeds are edible as well. The remainder of it is not.
I have to say that I was prepared for the process of separating it to be a lot more difficult and messier - which is why I put a large plastic shopping bag over the cutting board I used. There was a bit of sticky sap, so oiling my hands ahead of time, and keeping a bit of it nearby helped a lot. I literally just sliced it and pulled it apart. The edible pieces are very easy to distinguish from the other parts by texture. So, please, if you are only hesitant to try because it seems like a difficulty, let your mind be at ease.
WARNING: The inedible parts smell like a really old onion! Not so much that it will overpower the entire kitchen though. Just be forewarned.
Once you’ve pulled the pods apart, you will see a spongy part at the bottom. You’ll have to slice it off.
How long did it all take? Under favorable circumstances, considering I’d never done it before, it may have taken me just under an hour. However, under MY circumstances, it took about 4 hours...
I have 5-year-old son, and a 19-month-old daughter, who is beginning to potty train.
I maintain that my daughter is punking me with this potty training. She’ll say, “I poot”. What that means is that she’s done something. Or she’s about to do something. That “something” is always a mystery. Sometimes all my girl has done is pass gas. Other times…. Well, let’s just say “other things”.
Well, let’s just say “other things”.
So, imagine if you will, my daughter periodically indicating something. Then I take her to the bathroom. Sometimes something really is something, and it has to be changed. Meanwhile, my son is asking for chocolate milk, fruit snacks, pickles, water (my daughter does that too) or apples. Then add in Twenty Questions:
“Mommy! What are you doing?! “
“Mommy! What is that called?!
“Mommy! Can I go outside?!”
“Mommy! Can I taste it?!”
“Ugh!! Mommy that tastes funny, and your fingers stink!!”
That leads me to the taste…
When eaten raw, jackfruit tastes like a fig, with a hint of mango. Imagine it dry and fibrous though. I was fine with the texture, but my little food critic was not. Plus, he was right. My fingers did have a strong onion smell. I can’t imagine that making it appetizing. I just might use latex gloves the next time I purchase jackfruit. I have read several times that jackfruit inspired Juicy Fruit gum. I can certainly see that. It’s just not juicy!
The fruits of my labor were about 6.5 cups of fleshy fruit and 2 cups of seeds.
I decided to saute the flesh of the fruit with onions, green pepper, sliced mushrooms and garlic. I had it alongside quinoa with black beans and pinto beans. My son refused to touch it, my daughter ate both their portions,and I thought it was delicious!!
So, now what of the seeds? The seeds are edible. They can be boiled or roasted. I divided them and tried them both ways. Here’s where the ironies come into play.
My son LOVED the roasted seeds. He couldn’t get enough of them. No seasoning was necessary. I liked the boiled ones. My daughter did not. Quite surprising considering the girl is a connoisseur of crayons! But no one likes everything, I suppose.
The following evening, I decided to eat the jackfruit in a pocket pita, and add the boiled seeds to a really good recipe on this site. Brussels sprouts with Maple-Mustard Sauce. I sauteed the seeds along with the Brussels sprouts, and used agave nectar in place of the maple syrup. My son, who didn’t want to eat the jackfruit the day prior, loved it in the pocket pita. As you can see, I couldn’t even finish taking the picture, without his little hand grabbing for it! I can’t say I blamed him, because it was really tasty.
It’s worth the time and effort. Don’t miss out!
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