The jackfruit is definitely an ‘it’ food of the moment. Native to South East Asia, it’s the largest of all known tree-borne fruits and can weigh anywhere up to 30kg.
The exterior of the fruit is a hard skin of short, greenish thorns. The flesh of ripe jackfruit is yellow and tastes of pears, pineapple, banana and papaya all rolled into one. An unripe fruit, once cooked, takes on the taste and texture of slow-cooked meat giving it the title of ‘pulled pork for vegetarians’. Nutritionally, the jackfruit is rich in protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, iron and vitamin C and contains just 95 calories per 100g.
The buzz surrounding the fruit revolves around the possibility that the jackfruit could be the solution to food insecurity and global hunger — a single tree can yield 150 of these nutrient-dense fruits. The tree is easily grown and requires little maintenance; unlike other staples such as maize and wheat, it does not require replanting year after year or copious amounts of water to flourish. Fresh jackfruit is not yet widely available in Ireland but tinned jackfruit can be found in some Asian grocery stores.