This Strange Fruit Is One of the Healthiest Foods to Eat this Summer
It’s no secret that the number of vegans and vegetarians around the world are growing at a rapid pace. According to the Vegetarian Times, 3.2 percent of US adults follow a vegetarian-based diet. That’s 7.3 million people. About 0.5 percent of this number (1 million) are vegans. It’s clear that people are becoming more aware of what they put into their bodies, and with the numbers growing every year, more and more meat alternatives are created. The latest craze? Jackfruit. And even if you’re a full-fledged omnivore, you’re bound to like this one.
Jackfruit is everybody’s friend
Most people would love to have a meat alternative they actually like for when their vegan and vegetarian friends come to visit. Well, now you can be one of those awesome people who have it all together thanks to jackfruit. This fruit is a relative of the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family, and interestingly enough, it’s also known as the “pauper’s fruit”. Yeah, who knew we’d all be dying to get our hands on it.
So, if you’ve never heard of jackfruit before, you’re not alone. Many confuse it with durian, which looks very similar to jackfruit, but has a very distinct unpleasant smell. Jackfruit, however, has a fruity smell, which definitely makes it more appealing.
Where does it grow?
According to the Independent, jackfruit actually originated in southwest India. It can also be found in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. In short, it tends to grow in tropical places, but according to Food Revolution, it also grows in Africa and is pretty popular in countries like Brazil and Suriname as well. The fruit is also grown in Hawaii, Florida, and Australia. Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world – it can grow up to three feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. The average size of the fruit is not usually this big though, and most of them end up weighing 10 to 25 pounds.
What does it look like?
So, what does this miracle fruit look like? Well, you certainly won’t be able to miss it – it is a massive green, spiky fruit and once you cut it open, you’ll find that its flesh consists of edible yellow bulbs. You can literally use everything this fruit has to offer – its seeds can be eaten, cooked, or even ground into flour.
Different ways to eat it
The best thing about jackfruit is that it can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways, which means that you won’t easily get bored of it, or run out of dinner options anytime soon. Its ripeness will determine its taste, which means that it can be used in many different dishes.
1) Eat it raw
Jackfruit has a sweet taste when raw; think of the taste of pineapple, mango or banana – it’s pretty much the same. This means it’ll work great in a fruit salad or as a sweet fruity snack when cut into pieces. You can even get creative and serve it as dessert.
2) Use it as a meat alternative
When jackfruit is not yet ripe, its taste is pretty neutral, which means you can flavor it any way you want. It also has a stringy consistency, which means that it’s a great meat alternative. Many people are using it as a plant-based version of shredded chicken or pulled pork.
Its ability to imitate meat is what makes it so incredibly popular. Many stores now sell unripe jackfruit in cans as well as in pouches in the refrigerated section. If you want to use the fruit as a meat alternative, this will be the type you want to buy. You can use it in a range of dishes when it’s in its unripe form, like stir-fries, curries, tacos, and even burritos.
It has a wide range of health benefits
The best thing about jackfruit might be that it has a wide range of health benefits, so if you’re looking to eat healthier and more plant-based foods this summer, this big guy might be exactly what you need. According to Healthline, its seeds are protein-rich and also contains high amounts of calcium and iron. The fruit itself contains Vitamin A and C, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, fiber, and protein. It’s also rich in antioxidants and contains more protein than similar types of fruit, like apples and mangoes.
1) It can help to control your blood sugar
Because of its fairly high fiber and protein content, jackfruit has a very low glycemic index (GI). This helps to keep your blood sugar levels consistent after a meal, preventing it from spiking too quickly.
2) It can fight off potential disease
The fruit’s vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavanones content can help your body to fight off potential disease, keeping your body happy and healthy. Vitamin C helps to prevent inflammation that can lead to cancer and heart disease, while carotenoids can help to lower existing inflammation, reducing your risk of getting chronic heart diseases or type 2 diabetes. Flavanones also have anti-inflammation properties that can lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
3) It keeps your immune system strong
You can also count on this fruit to keep your immune system strong. Thanks to its vitamin A and C content, it will help to prevent illnesses and might even reduce your risk of getting viral infections.
4) It might even be beneficial to your skin
One of its best health benefits is probably its ability to prevent skin problems. We’re all looking for a miracle cure to have beautiful flawless skin, and while jackfruit certainly won’t change the condition of your skin overnight, there is anecdotal evidence that by regularly eating the fruit, you could potentially slow down the aging of your skin. You won’t know if you don’t try, right?
Jackfruit is definitely a fruit worth trying this summer. It provides you with some awesome meal options, is a healthy alternative to meat, and can even serve as dessert, not to mention all its awesome health benefits. What more could you want?
Have you tried jackfruit before? What’s it like? Any good recipes? Drop them in the comments.