Jackfruit isn’t grown in Stamford, CT. In fact, it’s only grown in Hawaii, Southern Florida or other warm areas with similar weather to its native home of India. The glossy green leaves remain year around, unlike deciduous trees that shed their leaves in the fall, which makes it an evergreen—but not the type with spiky needles. What makes it special is the large key lime green colored fruit that can weigh as much as 80 pounds.
The fruit of the jackfruit tree can either be used as a fruit or a meat substitute.
The fleshy interior is yellow and has a sweet, pineapple/banana flavor when it’s ripe. However, if you choose an unripe jackfruit, it’s also good. The meat of the fruit is stringy and bland at that stage, so it makes a great meat substitute and is often called vegetarian pulled pork and perfect for a barbecue “pulled pork” sandwich. It can also be used for vegetarian curry and to replace tofu or chickpeas. Even though it has the texture and flavor of pork, it only has three grams of protein per cup, so it’s not a good protein substitute for a diet.
Jackfruit provides a lot of vitamins and minerals.
One cup of jackfruit has 157 calories. It offers 2.5 grams of fiber, 32 grams of sugar and 2.8 grams of protein. It’s high in vitamin C, approximately 25% of the DV and potassium, with approximately 15.7% of the DV. It also offers phytochemicals, and other vitamins and minerals. It has vitamins B6, B3, B2, B9, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
The high fiber content of jackfruit and nutrients makes it heart healthy.
The high fiber content of jackfruit can help lower cholesterol levels. In fact, eating a diet high in fiber can lower cholesterol by as much as 10%. The potassium also helps keep blood pressure regulated, which also lowers the risk of heart disease. The high amount of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are also associated with preventing plaque instability in atherosclerosis. The magnesium in the fruit can provide better quality sleep, which also boosts heart health.
- If you’re low in manganese, the potential for bone mineral loss is great. Jackfruit’s high content of manganese can be a beneficial source of this mineral.
- For diabetics, jackfruit as a meat substitute may be the perfect way to improve insulin sensitivity. It has no saturated fat and lots of fiber, both associated with lowering insulin resistance and benefiting type 2 diabetics.
- If you want to use jackfruit as a mean substitute, it’s often packaged and sold with a label “packed in brine” or “young.” It still has the bland flavor and stringy consistency that makes it a perfect pulled pork substitute.
- If you have a latex allergy or a birch pollen allergy, steer clear of jackfruit. If you have chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, also avoid it, since it’s high in potassium that can cause hyperkalemia.
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