Jackfruit is the new vegan pulled pork. If you haven’t tried it, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the taste and texture. We’re also going to share some downright delicious vegan recipes you won’t want to miss.
Let’s get started…
What Does Jackfruit Taste Like?
Jackfruit is probably unlike any fruit you’ve had before. This is because it can have various flavors and textures, depending on its maturity level.
When fresh, it’s tropical, sweet, and tart with a combination of fruit flavors like mango, pineapple, and banana, though it’s almost candy-like.
Young green jackfruit is different. It’s sour with less tropical flavor and usually needs a good dose of sweetener when you’re cooking it.
Immature jackfruit’s sourness dissipates significantly when you cook it. Some people recommend boiling it for a few minutes first, then straining it and changing out the water to continue the cooking process. This draws out the young fruit’s sour notes and leaves a more neutral flavor and slightly rubbery texture.
Since it doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, jackfruit is ideal for incorporating into different dishes. It’ll absorb pretty much any flavor it’s immersed into, making it tremendously versatile.
In a Curry
How jackfruit tastes in a curry depends on when you incorporate it and whether you pre-season it. Ideally, you’d marinate your jackfruit in a sauce of choice for at least 12 hours. Then cook it lightly before adding it to the curry you’re preparing.
It’ll absorb the marinade flavors and incorporate beautifully with the other curry ingredients. You’ll find that it breaks apart during the simmering process, so you’ll have delicious, tender morsels to bite into.
Much like the curry mentioned above, BBQ jackfruit will taste like whatever you’ve marinated it into. One of the best ways to ensure that this dish will be amazing is to steep the jackfruit in your favorite BBQ sauce.
Chop it into pieces and make sure it’s completely covered in sauce—either in a baking dish or a plastic zipper bag. Let this sit in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours before cooking, then either bake it or grill it. This will look and taste very similar to meat, only with a slightly more veggie-like crunch. You’ll either love it or dislike it immensely.
Further Reading: What does BBQ Jackfruit Taste Like?
There are two types of tinned jackfruit that you can buy: young jackfruit in water, or mature jackfruit in syrup. If you’re aiming to make savory dishes, like vegan pulled pork or chicken, then you’ll want to buy the former. It has a neutral flavor and slightly rubbery-yet-crunchy texture and will absorb any flavoring you rub into it.
In contrast, the jackfruit is syrup needs to be used in sweet dishes. It’s much softer—kind of like ripe mango—and is ideal for smoothies, ice cream, puddings, and other desserts.
If you ate meat before going vegan and miss pepperoni’s chewy goodness, then prepare to squee yourself. Jackfruit pepperoni is absolutely delicious and tastes almost exactly like its meaty predecessor. You can expect a bit of chewiness, a lot of smoky flavor and spice, and an overall sense of “omg, I need more of this” when you eat it. This pepperoni is as perfect for pizza toppings as it is for snacking on when you’re hiking.
This fruit is native to India and looks like something you’d expect a dinosaur to hatch from. It’s large and oval with spiny skin and interesting flesh that’s both creamy and flaky.
The inner flesh looks like it’s made up of little pods like artichoke hearts. They’re very moist and tender, and their fibrousness makes them ideal for mock pulled pork as they take on the same shredded texture.
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Does Jackfruit Really Taste like Pork?
The truth is that there are many different opinions on this. You’ll find that some people attest to a pulled pork flavor, but because jackfruit is so often made into a vegan version of pulled pork, it may be that the two are forevermore entangled.
The texture is what really makes jackfruit so like pulled pork. The seasonings for a savory, “meaty” flavor are pretty easy to nail, so you can absolutely say that jackfruit may closely resemble pulled pork.
Looking for jackfruit? You might wanna read our article on Where to Buy Jackfruit
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How Do You Cut and Eat a Jackfruit?
If you buy a whole jackfruit, you may wonder what the best way of getting into it is. For this you’ll need a knife big enough for the job—this is a really big fruit. It doesn’t have to be huge, but a standard cutting knife (not a small paring knife) will be necessary.
You can start cutting into it lengthwise from one end to the other and split it open the rest of the way down with your hands. Or you can cut it into thick rounds and remove the “pods” (the part you’ll eat). Take out the seeds, too, and save them for roasting and eating.
Once you have the deseeded sections of the edible flesh, you can eat them as they are or save them for the fabulous vegan recipes coming up in just a moment.
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Can You Eat Canned Jackfruit Raw?
You can eat canned jackfruit raw and straight out of the can, but you’ll probably find it tastier if you season it. That’s the most common way of eating canned jackfruit, whether raw or cooked.
Canned jackfruit comes in brine or syrup. If you’re looking to use it in a recipe, go for the fruit in brine as the syrupy version is sweet.
What Can You Do with Jackfruit?
Now it’s time for those recipes we promised. They’ll show you how to turn jackfruit into vegan tacos carnitas and “pulled pork.”
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Mock meats, step aside. Jackfruit is the ultimate vegan carnitas ingredient.
Here’s what you’ll need for these tacos:
- Canned jackfruit
- Seasoned salt
- Chili powder
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
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We’d be willing to bet that this is going to be one of your new favorite sandwiches.
Here’s what you need for jackfruit “pulled pork” sandos:
- Canned green jackfruit in brine
- Red onion
- Barbecue seasoning
- Vegan barbecue sauce
- Coleslaw mix
- Vegan mayo
- Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- Maple syrup (optional)
- Salt and pepper
Jackfruit is one cool-looking fruit. It’s sweet and tart and some say it even tastes like pulled pork, but for the most part, the pulled pork quality is in the shreddy, tender texture of the fruit’s flesh. You can eat it raw or cooked, and we definitely suggest cooking it to try instead of mock meats for vegan sliders, tacos, chili, and anything else that would benefit from that famous shredded texture.
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