December 20, 2016
Keep an eye out for jackfruit incorporated into restaurant recipes and at the center of grocery store displays.
The egg-shaped giant fruit with a prickly green outer layer and a yellow-orange fleshy core is predicted to be the "it" food of 2017 and used as a vegetarian "meat" alternative.
Part of the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family native to South and Southeast Asia, jackfruit is a tropical fruit that grows on trees and is very large – a fruit can weigh up to 100 pounds. Each fruit is comprised of thousands of edible "fleshy petals," called the "meat."
According to an NPR.org report on the fruit's potential for fighting food insecurity, the flesh has been described as tasting like Juicy Fruit gum. But what makes it an ideal meat substitute is that it easily absorbs other flavors and has a mealy, stringy texture, like pulled meat. Plus, it is high in protein and other nutrients.
You can find fresh jackfruit at some grocery stores sold whole or already cut into quarters and sealed in plastic wrap.
When using it as a meat alternative (Jackfruit Philly Cheesesteak, anyone?), most recipes call for it to either be sautéed or roasted to help it absorb the surrounding flavors and to heat it.