Jackfruit – my love has come home

Sprout’s finally had a jackfruit waiting for me and yes, I brought it home where it belongs. If you are unaware of my love affair with jackfruit, you can read about it here. It may help you understand why it is so exciting for us to have one in our home!

The first time I purchased a fresh jackfruit, I carved it before it was ripe out of sheer excitement. It was a mistake I was not willing to make again. I swore I would never again waste another beautiful jackfruit like I did that day. That was a few years ago and I have been hesitant to buy jackfruit again.

But just a few days ago, it happened. As I was leaving the asparagus, I looked down to see a large spikey fruit looking up at me from a low end cap shelf. Could it be? The fruit was dark green, browning in some spots. The spikes were plumping in some areas and as I walked closer, I could smell the sweet scent… this jackfruit was ready to be harvested! I may have shrieked in excitement and yelled at the girls to hurry behind me as I pulled it from the shelf. It was at least 20 pounds but for $19, I wasn’t going to leave it there to die.

I think my love for ol’ Jack has rubbed off on my oldest gremlin because as soon as we got in line to check out, she asked if I could make spicy jackfruit dip when we got home. How could I say no? I did tell her we would have to wait a couple of days because cutting a jackfruit can take a few hours, and mommy really needed to take her time this go around.

Jackfruit is usually available in a can, especially at stores like Sprouts and Trader Joe’s, however if you can get your hands on a fresh one, take advantage! Now that I have honed my jackfruit cutting skills, I won’t pass up buying one if I have the chance.

I’ve outlined how to cut the jackfruit below. Hopefully this will be helpful in your first attempt at using this wonderful fruit. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and I will try to help as best I can šŸ™‚

Unripe jackfruit is usually bright green; while it is beautiful, it is not ready to be eaten. Ripe jackfruit will be brown, dark green, and maybe yellow in some areas. The spikes will be less pointy, it will be easy to push into the rind with your thumb, and it will have a sweet, fragrant smell.

Prep is absolutely necessary to make this adventure go smoothly! Your countertop or table should remind you of a Dexter episode. The jackfruit is sticky because of the white, latex substance inside so you will need to take a few preventive measures to save yourself some major clean up time:

  • I covered our island with parchment paper to protect the granite and make clean up easier.
  • I lined a large mixing bowl with a plastic shopping bag to act as a mini trash can.
  • I set out three containers – one for the seeds, one for the pods, and one for the “rags” or pulp.
  • I used two knives – a big ass murder weapon knife and a long serrated knife
  • Set aside 1/3 cup of oil – you can use whatever you have on hand, I used vegetable oil

After you are prepped, generously apply oil to your knives. You will need to do this multiple times while you are carving the jackfruit to make cutting and clean up much faster.

Now for the cutting! Cut the jackfruit in half, lengthwise starting at the top stem. Look at that beauty!

Next, cut each half again so that the jackfruit is now in quarters. Cut the rind off of each quarter, then bend the quarters back and forth to loosen the fruit. Put the rind in the large mixing bowl lined with a plastic bag.

Now that you are done using the knives, oil your fingers and palms. This will help keep the latex from sticking to your hands. Using your fingers, peel the “rags” (stringy white thingys) off of each pod (yellow fruit thingys) and place in one of the containers. Break the pods in half to remove the seeds. You may have to cut the pods just a little to be able to remove the seeds. Set the pods and the seeds in separate containers. Repeat until all of the jackfruit has been harvested. This may take an hour or so to complete, so throw on some jams and get to work.

 

 

Each part of the jackfruit can be eaten except for the rind but don’t throw it out! You can put all of the fruity left overs in your compost bucket to feed your garden.

 

 

 

 

The seeds of the jackfruit can be eaten or planted. I have not ventured into how to eat the jackfruit seeds but I do plan to research that before we buy another one. I am going to try to sprout some of these seeds in a few pots, maybe we’ll have our own jackfruit tree one day. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

The rags of the jackfruit are the white stringy fibers that hold the pods in the fruit. They can be boiled then prepared in dishes to replicate shredded meats. We love to use the rags for spicy chik’n dip (similar to buffalo chicken dip) or BBQ sandwiches (similar to pulled pork). My next project is going to be prepping the rags to use in tamales with a red sauce. I’ll update on that later.

 

 

 

The pods of the jackfruit can be eaten raw and have a mild fruity flavor. You can also boil them, then shred into pieces to be used in place of shredded meat, just the same as the rags.

 

 

 

As a vegan, jackfruit is one of my favorite things to cook with to replace meat in our diet. Don’t be afraid though, everyone can enjoy jackfruit no matter what your lifestyle is because it’s delicious. Duh, silly goose! We are thankful to mother earth for providing this beautiful and bountiful fruit to us. Please let me know if you decide to try jackfruit and let me know how it goes.

Happy cooking!

ā¤ La Lady Valdez

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