18 Mar Exotic Jackfruit, how much do you know about the super fruit that is cooked instead of meat?
There are some fruits that have such particular properties that they become superfoods in all respects. One of these is the jackfruit, also called Jaca or giaco. It is an exotic fruit that we could describe as a kind of a cross between pineapple and mango. At least in terms of shape, color, and type of pulp.
Jackfruit in Europe is not yet very well known and very consumed, but it is experiencing growing success. The reason is precisely its nutritional richness, in addition to the refreshing and delicious flavor.
What is jaca?
The jackfruit is the fruit of a plant belonging to the Moraceae family and has a tropical origin. The jackfruit can be very large, it is the largest tree fruit and can reach 40 cm in diameter and 30 kg in weight.
Externally, it has a wrinkled peel of green or yellow color. Inside, the pulp is yellow and rich in seeds. This fruit, eaten raw, has a flavor very similar to that of pineapple with vanilla notes and can be tasted both raw and cooked, in that case, it almost resembles meat.
Nutritional values and properties
Let’s start with the calories. Jackfruit is a very nutritious fruit, in fact, it has 95 kcal per 100 grams of the product. It is mostly made up of carbohydrates, but it also contains a small amount of protein and a lot of fiber. The fiber content makes it a particularly suitable fruit for keeping bad cholesterol levels in the blood under control. But not only that, but the fiber also helps those suffering from intestinal irregularities and gives the fruit satiating properties.
When it comes to minerals, jackfruit is rich in potassium. This mineral salt is essential to counteract fatigue, it helps diuresis and purification. In the fruit, you also find excellent quantities of magnesium, iron, and calcium.
From the point of view vitamin, jackfruit is a mine of vitamin C. This is why its consumption helps the defenses, the health of the tissues is antioxidant and improves energy levels. Jackfruit is also a source of B vitamins (valuable for the nervous system and for the proper functioning of the metabolism) and vitamin A (for the health of the eyes and skin).
The vitamin C and vitamin A content makes jackfruit a superfood with recognized antioxidant and, therefore, anti-aging properties. Enough to be counted among the “foods of the future”. Considering that you can also eat it cooked, it can replace meat in some of your recipes.
There are not a few who confuse Jacob with durian. The latter, unlike the jackfruit, is smaller and very thorny. The thorns of the durian are large and visible almost like spikes, while the husk of the jack is simply rough. Not only the peel, but even the smell of durian is also particularly pungent, so much so that it is forbidden in closed public environments.
How to eat jackfruit
Jackfruit, as we have already said, can be eaten both raw and cooked. It is eaten raw like any other fruit: you open it and inside you find a pulp made up of several very juicy yellow “hearts”. With the pulp, you can also prepare a kind of fruit in syrup, as you would for example with peaches. Or, you can cut it into thin slices and put it in brine, to be enjoyed as an aperitif and appetizer. And always with jackfruit pulp, you can prepare a fermented drink.
But one of the pluses of jackfruit is that it can also be eaten cooked, thanks to its taste similar to that of meat. In Thailand, for example, this fruit is grilled. Try doing it yourself at home, with a very simple grill pan. Once cooked, you can season your grilled jackfruit with fresh lime juice: you will get a very special, exotic dish that will amaze all your friends. Perfect even if you have vegan guests for lunch or dinner.
Recipes with jackfruit
Among the vegan recipes with giaco, there are then real stews. For example, jackfruit stew or jackfruit curry are both great ideas for an ethnic menu. How are they prepared? Just sauté cubes of jackfruit pulp in a sautéed onion, garlic, and vegetables to taste. And then let it cook by adding a can of coconut milk. Finally, when cooked (when it is creamy and soft), add the curry or another mixture of spices to taste.
Always with the jackfruit, you can prepare very simple veg burgers. Blend the pulp with the mixer and create large meatballs with your hands, using a pastry cutter and adding breadcrumbs and spices to taste. Then cook the jackfruit burgers in a pan or on the grill: don’t forget to always add a pinch of chili, it goes very well with its flavor!