How to Prepare Jackfruit

Let me share some tips on how to prepare jackfruit and how to make it taste better. This tropical fruit is a popular meat substitute in the meatless world. It’s loved for it’s meaty texture and perfect for making your favorite savory dishes without meat.

How to Prepare Jackfruit for Cooking

What is Jackfruit

Jackfruit is the largest fruit in the world and it originated and it’s a fruit native to India. Though nowadays it’s also grown in Southeast Asian Countries, parts of Africa, and Brazil. Pretty much, tropical climates.

Recently it’s also started to be grown in Mexico. Here we call it yaca or carne de yaca. The local growers either sell either whole fresh jackfruit or dried to be rehydrated and used as a meat alternative.

A whole jackfruit can weigh as much as 100 lbs. or over 45 kg — that’s a huge fruit!!

Did you know jackfruit is in the same family as figs?

It’s an amazing fruit that has many health benefits, it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, has vegan protein, can help with healthy skin and bones, control blood sugar, and much more.

The only thing about jackfruit is that it doesn’t have a lot of protein. In 100 grams of jackfruit it only has 1.7g of protein. Whereas 100 grams of tofu has 8.1g of protein.

This huge tropical fruit has a spiny outer texture shell (it’s not sharp so safe to touch). It’s green when unripe and turns a yellow color when ripe.

It’s quite the versatile fruit and due to it’s mild flavor it can be eaten in countless creative recipes.

Please make sure to consult your Dr. if you are allergic to figs or have a latex allergy or sensitivity.

Cutting Fresh Jackfruit in Mexico

Young Jackfruit VS Ripened Jackfruit

Jackfruit can be eaten unripe and ripe.

When unripe it’s called young jackfruit. It has a neutral flavor when unripe so it makes it perfect for using in savory vegan dishes that traditionally call for meat. This too is when it’s processed for canning and labeled as “young jackfruit or jackfruit in brine“.

The taste is quite mild, so it’s perfect for making savory dishes. Just like tofu, young jackfruit absorbs flavors and seasonings quite well.

When cutting into raw jackfruit we need to be careful because it releases a sticky sap that’s difficult to remove from cutting utensils and your fingers. This is specially so when it’s unripe. What this video to see what I mean.

The suggestion is to rub either coconut oil or olive oil on the cutting board, large knife and your hands to make the sticky sap easier to clean off — make sure you read up on this if you have a latex allergy!

Ripe Jackfruit Cut Into

Ripe or matured jackfruit has small golden colored fruit pods. These are the edible fruit and are encased by a very fibrous texture that must be peeled or cut away in order to get to the fruit pods. Inside the golden sweet nuggets is a huge seed that’s removed before eating.

That fibrous or stringy flesh texture, after removing the sweet seeds or fruit pods is discarded when jackfruit is mature. They are quite hard and not ideal for cooking or eating. Watch this video to see how to remove fresh fruit pods from jackfruit.

Ripe jackfruit pods have a delicious sweet scent that is quite unique. To me they taste a bit like bananas, pineapple, coconut and somehow bubblegum.

It’s truly a unique flavor that if given the opportunity, you simple must taste!

Fresh Jackfruit Seed Pods

Are Jackfruit Seeds Edible

Yes they are. But to humans, they are toxic to dogs and to cats too!

Many people save them from the ripened fruit to roast and eat like roasted chestnuts. Some people boil and peel them and then blend them to make jackfruit seed hummus.

The jackfruit seeds in the canned young jackfruit are also edible. Many people remove and discard them. I don’t waste them. I will remove the hard shell, chop or slice them and mix in with the rest of the jackfruit meat.

How to Make Canned Jackfruit Taste Good

Where to Buy It

You can find fresh jackfruit in any grocery store or specialty stores that carry exotic tropical fruits. Many Asian supermarkets will also carry it. Here in Mexico some mercados and supermarkets also carry them. Just make sure to look up the seasons in your region.

For the canned stuff you can get it at Trader Joe, your local Whole Foods, Amazon and anywhere that sells vegan products or exotic ingredients.

Vegan Tamales with Jackfruit
Vegan Tamales with Jackfruit

How is it Used In Meatless Cooking

Canned jackfruit can be a great addition to your meatless pantry.

You can buy raw or unripe jackfruit, ripened, canned or even dried.

Canned jackfruit is available as young jackfruit packaged in brine. There’s also ripe jackfruit fruit pods in syrup. Be aware that they do not have the same uses.

Canned jackfruit in brine is perfect for making savory recipes and dishes that you want to mimic the stringy texture of meat. It’s also cut into smaller pieces of course to fit in the cans.

There are tons of jackfruit recipes online for using the canned young jackfruit. One of the most common ways to cook it, is to mix with barbecue sauce and make vegan pulled jackfruit pork sandwiches.

How to Prepare Jackfruit for Cooking
Red Chile Tamales with Jackfruit

But there are also lots of Mexican style recipes for canned jackfruit. One is making jackfruit tacos on corn tortillas. Another popular use is for making vegan pozole, either red pozole or green, and also for tamales.

I’ll be sharing more Mexican jackfruit recipes in the coming year, so check back often.

Canned Jackfruit in syrup is eaten as a dessert. It can also be used to make ice cream, jackfruit upside-down cake, pudding, sticky rice, Jackfruit Coconut Muffins, and much more.

Dried Jackfruit

Dried jackfruit is also readily available.

In the US you will find it at Costco and many other places. Usually this dried jackfruit are the golden fruit pods that have been dehydrated. These are best for snacks or desserts.

In Mexico we can find those but also it’s more common to find dried unripe or young green jackfruit.

This can be used just the same as the canned stuff. We just need to hydrated it before using in any savory dishes.

How to Prepare Jackfruit for Cooking

How to Prepare Jackfruit

Before you can start cooking all those savory vegan meat dishes, you need to prepare jackfruit first.

It’s not difficult it’s just going to add a little bit of extra time to your jackfruit recipes. But if you’ve ever asked yourself how to make jackfruit taste better, then you don’t want to skip these step.

How to Prepare Jackfruit for Cooking

How to Prepare Canned Jackfruit

Canned jackfruit has a pretty mild taste but the brine can have an acid added to help preserve it. This slight tartness is what can make the jackfruit taste a bit bitter and also a bit tinny or metallic taste. But don’t worry it’s easy to get rid of.

This step won’t only get rid of the canned food taste, but it’ll also help give your jackfruit a better stringy and meat-like texture.

My method for preparing canned jackfruit this way is just like the way pork is boiled in Mexican cooking. Adding these ingredients gives it a delicious flavor.

How to Prepare Jackfruit for Cooking

Please notice that in my tamales cookbook I have a more elaborate method. It also works, this one here takes less time. Choose the method that works best for you.

  • Drain the jackfruit from the cans.
  • Place in a colander or strainer and thoroughly rinse with cold water. Drain off excess water.
  • Place the jackfruit pieces in a large pot and cover with at least a couple inch of water.
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse the boiled jackfruit.
  • Place it back into the pot and cover with a few inches of water.
  • Add 1/2 medium white onion, 3 garlic cloves, 4 whole peppercorns, 1 bay leaf and 1 Tablespoon of vegetable bouillon powder or vegan broth paste.
  • Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
  • Drain off the broth and discard.
  • DO NOT rinse the cooked jackfruit.
  • Allow to cool down until cooled down enough that you can handle it.
How to Prepare Dried Jackfruit

How to Prepare Dried Jackfruit

Please notice that these instructions are for preparing dried young jackfruit, not for the sweet fruit pods.

  • Thoroughly rinse the dried jackfruit inside a colander and with cool water.
  • Drain off excess water and place inside a pot.
  • Cover with a few inches of water.
  • Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the jackfruit shreds are well hydrated.
  • Drain and rinse again under cold water. Squeeze out as you’re rinsing.
  • Place back inside the pot and repeat the process.
  • If you’d like you can also add the onion, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf and vegetable bouillon powder. Different brands of dried jackfruit may be bland or a little tart once hydrated. Taste it and see if it could benefit from the seasonings.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Now it’s ready to use.
How to Rehydrate Jackfruit for Cooking

How to Shred Jackfruit

Dried jackfruit is usually already shredded, so further steps are needed.

To shred canned jackfruit, you first need to prepare it as mentioned above.

Once it’s been prepped it becomes softer and it’ll be easier to shred.

Allow to cool before handling and just using your fingers you can just start to pull it apart. You an also use a fork to help pull apart the shreds.

Look out for any hard bits, typically on the wider parts of the jackfruit pieces, these are usually the bits of the hard core of the jackfruit. Remove and discard them.

For the seeds make sure to remove their hard shell. Some people completely discard the large seed, but it’s really a waste. Simple chop or slice them up and mix in with the rest of the shreds. They’ll soften even more once cooked further.

Continue until you have shredded all of the jackfruit pieces.

How to Cook Jackfruit

How to Cook It

Once you have the shredded jackfruit you can cook it in any of your favorite ways.

Remember it makes a fantastic vegan pork substitute, and can be used in any savoury dishes where you would want to use meat or shredded meat specifically.

With prepping like I previously mentioned, adding a flavorful sauce, some spices and seasonings, you can make jackfruit taste amazing!

Below are just a few ideas on how to cook jackfruit. Make sure to check back as I add more recipes to the blog.

How to Store and Freeze

You can store prepared jackfruit in an airtight container for about 4 days. Or you can freeze it for up to a couple of months.

How to Prepare Jackfruit for Cooking

How to Prepare Jackfruit

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
Let me share some tips on how to prepare jackfruit and how to make it taste better. It’s loved for it’s meaty texture and perfect for making your favorite savory dishes without meat.
5 from 1 vote
Save Recipe Pin Recipe Leave a Review
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican-American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 11 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 20oz cans young jackfruit
  • water
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 3 whole garlic cloves
  • 4 whole peppercorns
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable bouillon powder

Instructions
 

  • Drain the jackfruit from the cans. Place in a colander or strainer and thoroughly rinse with cold water. Drain off excess water.
    How to Make Canned Jackfruit Taste Good
  • Place the jackfruit pieces in a large pot and cover with at least a couple inch of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the boiled jackfruit.
    How to Prepare Jackfruit for Cooking
  • Place it back into the pot and cover with a few inches of water.
    How to Prepare Jackfruit for Cooking
  • Add 1/2 medium white onion, 3 garlic cloves, 4 whole peppercorns, 1 bay leaf and 1 Tablespoon of vegetable bouillon powder or vegan broth paste.
    How to Prepare Jackfruit for Cooking
  • Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
  • Drain off the broth and discard. DO NOT rinse the cooked jackfruit.
  • Allow to cool down until cooled down enough that you can handle it.
  • Once cooled down you can pull apart to shred it. Remove any hard pieces and discard them. The seeds are edible so you can remove the hard outer shell and cut or slice and mix in with the shredded jackfruit.
    How to Make Jackfruit Taste Good
  • Now you’re ready to cook the prepared jackfruit in all of your favorite vegan meat recipes.
    How to Cook Jackfruit

Notes

How to Prepare Dried Jackfruit

Please notice that these instructions are for preparing dried young jackfruit, not for the sweet fruit pods.
  • Thoroughly rinse the dried jackfruit inside a colander and with cool water.
  • Drain off excess water and place inside a pot.
  • Cover with a few inches of water.
  • Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the jackfruit shreds are well hydrated.
  • Drain and rinse again under cold water. Squeeze out as you’re rinsing.
  • Place back inside the pot and repeat the process.
  • If you’d like you can also add the onion, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf and vegetable bouillon powder. Different brands of dried jackfruit may be bland or a little tart once hydrated. Taste it and see if it could benefit from the seasonings.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Now it’s ready to use.

Nutrition

Serving: 4servingsCalories: 11kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 16mgPotassium: 38mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 29IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicamademeatless!
How to Make Jackfruit Taste Good

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