I think it’s fair to say that jackfruit has been one of 2016’s trendiest vegan foods. At the last vegan festival I went to, every other food stall seemed to have involved it in their menus – from jackfruit curries to pasties.
But how can an obscure-sounding fruit have become such a big part of animal-free cooking? Jackfruits can be bought tinned, in syrup, just like any other sweet fruit. But before it is ripe, jackfruit can be slow-cooked and then pulled apart to create a faux meat. This makes it an ideal replacement for pork or chicken – in sandwiches, stews, curries and many other dishes.
Jackfruit is surprisingly easy to prepare, and a lot healthier than many meat substitutes (which, like any processed food, contain their fair share of salt and flavourings). If you’re tempted to give it a go, look out for tins of green, unripe jackfruit (right) in Asian grocery stores (but be sure to get the unripe version – not the sweet one), or order it online.
Once you’ve found your local source of jackfruit, it’s as easy as opening the tin and draining off the brine, then throwing the jackfruit into your casserole or curry to cook slowly. Some people prefer to get rid of the seeds before cooking the jackfruit, but I don’t bother with this.
Searching for ‘jackfruit recipes’ online brings up a multitude of results, but you might like to try some of these:
But if you’d prefer to try jackfruit in ready-to-eat form, then do keep an eye out for it at vegan fairs, where there should be plenty of opportunities.
Every year seems to bring new crazes in vegan food, with jackfruit and chickpea-based meringues (more on that to come) both becoming popular in recent times. With almost every kind of food now available in animal-free form, it’s exciting to think what 2017 will bring to cruelty-free cookery.