Hey hey hey!!! Today’s post is one that might really knock your socks off. It’s possible that you’ve never heard of this “fruit” before, but I have to say, that it is absolutely DELICIOUS. We’re talking about jackfruit. Fresh, ripe jackfruit.
Fresh, Ripe Jackfruit
This is me posing with my “baby”. I won it at a Melissa’s Produce event. Well, I think they decided that I “won” the contest because I was nearly hysterical about the thing. I had heard so much about jackfruit, and how many people use it as a meat substitute like pulled pork. Being a n00b vegetarian, I had been on the passive hunt for a fresh jackfruit so I could make my own pulled pork, and control all of the ingredients. When I walked into Melissa’s Produce for their “Food Trends of 2017” event, and saw this puppy, I couldn’t contain my excitement!
When I first got this jackfruit, it looked like this. It was very bright yellow with some hints of green. In the picture above, it has ripened over the course of about 7 days, and you can see that it is more yellow with some brown spots. This is perfectly normal, and an indicator of it’s ripeness. This is a fresh, ripe jackfruit.
Ripe vs. Unripe
In my research, this fruit has different applications when it’s un-ripe vs. when it is ripe. As you would imagine, it’s much sweeter when ripe, and you can’t really use ripe jackfruit with a vegan pulled pork recipe as it would be too sweet. The pulled pork that I wanted to try so badly uses un-ripe fruit, and uses both the actual fruit, and the stringy bits that encapsulate the fruit pods. I let mine fully ripen, so the recipes that will follow over the next weeks use the sweet, delicious, ripe fruit. Vegan pulled pork will be made the next time I get my hands on a jackfruit.
Anatomy Of A Fresh, Ripe Jackfruit
The jackfruit is big. Some can be about two feet long. If you cut it lengthwise as you see here, there is a large core in the middle that is not edible. You see large seeds, that are about 1″ in diameter. The seeds are encapsulated by the actual “fruit”, and there are a bunch of stringy bits that lie in-between the individual fruits. To process the fruit, you run your knife along the perimeter of the core, and remove it the best you can, as it’s large and awkward. They say that the jackfruit has a glue-like sap that emerges when cut. I didn’t experience this, and I postulate that because the sugars had time to develop, that the sap was non-existent. Without the sugars, there would be more starch, causing more stickiness. If you cut an un-ripe jackfruit, be prepared for major cleanup and sticky glue that is difficult to clean.
Below, you can see a fruit “pod” that has been removed from the whole. To get to the seed, you have to cut the fruit pod open, and separate the seed. There is a jacket-like covering around the seed that should be discarded. Save the seeds, as they are entirely edible (recipe is coming soon), though there is a harder shell that needs to be removed for that too. Yes, this is quite a bit of work, but it was very satisfying for me!
This is what the entire operation looked like. You can see the seeds and fruit separated from the whole which still contained the stringy bits. At the time, I didn’t realize that the stringy bits were indeed part of what made up the pulled pork. This was a trial run, so better luck next time for me!
Look at this fresh, ripe jackfruit! To me, it tasted most like a slightly over-ripe cantaloupe, but with a chewier, slippery texture. Cantaloupe can sometimes have grassy notes, but the jackfruit does not. The texture reminded me of perfectly cooked calamari – not gummy, but perfectly chewy.
We drink a ton of smoothies in this house, so whenever I conjure one up, it has to have that perfect fiber-to-sugar ratio. There’s not an exact ratio – I just don’t want to have a smoothie entirely of sugar-rich fruits. So, for this one in particular, the jackfruit was so sweet, it needed a fibrous veg, and that veg is oftentimes celery. It has a mild enough flavor that gets overpowered by the sugary fruit, and you can’t even tell that it’s there. Bump up the fiber with low flavor sacrifice.
The normal American diet consumes about 12 grams of fiber per day, but according to the Institute of Medicine, men should consume 38g fiber, and women, 25g. The ratio for consuming a meal is 10-1, carbs to fiber, according to Berkeley Wellness. This ratio is based on naturally occurring ratios of 38 grains. So, for this particular smoothie, which could easily be a meal based on its caloric statistics, is slightly over the ratio, at 11.5:1 carbs to fiber. So while it is pretty sugary, it still comes pretty close to the normal ratio, so I’m OK with it. It just means that you’ll have to plan other meals accordingly – get more fiber and minimal sugar in elsewhere!
To give this smoothie a little more decadence, add some dried coconut on top, or serve in a bowl, with toasted pinenuts, blackberries, and more dried coconut!
Fresh, Ripe Jackfruit Smoothie
This smoothie has a lovely tropical flavor from the coconut and jackfruit, while the celery bumps up its fiber levels, making for a more nutritionally balanced smoothie.
- 2 Cups Fresh, Ripe Jackfruit
- 2 Whole Bananas @ roughly 7 inches
- 1 Cup Chopped Celery
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Coconut
- 1 1/4 Cups Coconut Water
Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Divide into two large glasses or bowls, and top with blackberries, dried coconut, and toasted pine nuts.
*Disclaimer: Melissa’s produce provided me with the jackfruit and coconut for this recipe. I was not compensated in any other way, and all opinions are my own.