If you haven’t heard of Jackfruit, where have you been?
Recently it has being popping up on menus everywhere as a plant-based meat alternative. It might be delicious, but is it actually any good for you? I’m here to answer all your questions about this new ‘superfood’.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHAT ACTUALLY IS JACKFRUIT?
Jackfruit is a fruit that comes from a tree, also known as the jack tree originating from Southwest India. Jackfruit trees are usually grown in tropical conditions, but they’re now also produced in places like Florida, Hawaii and Australia and can be found as a meat alternative on menus pretty much everywhere.
WE KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING, HOW CAN A FRUIT TASTE LIKE MEAT?
Well, the truth is before it’s cooked it doesn’t really. In fact, the taste is more similar to that of a pineapple when it is ripe, and before that it’s kind of like a raw potato.
However, just like tofu, jackfruit can take on the taste of whatever it’s prepared with. This means that when it’s cooked and lathered in BBQ sauce, jackfruit has the same texture and takes on a similar taste to BBQ pulled pork, hence why is it used as a substitute in a lot of pork-based recipes.
This makes it is a great option for vegans looking for a meat alternative.
BUT HOW DOES IT HOLD UP WHEN WE LOOK AT ITS NUTRITIONAL VALUE?
Well, we have good and bad news.
THE BAD NEWS
Let’s get it out the way, shall we? Jackfruit is a lot lower in protein than meat. While it does contain iron and calcium, a cup of jackfruit only comes in at about 3 grams of protein.
THE GOOD NEWS
It’s not all doom and gloom for jackfruit.
Jackfruit is packed full of important nutrients, including fibre which a lot of people’s diets are lacking in. This means it can help with your digestion as well as give your immune system an energy levels a boost.
It’s also a good option if you’re counting your calories. Whereas 100 grams of pork comes in at 242 calories, 100 grams of jackfruit only comes in at 95!
To sum it up, jackfruit comes with loads of health benefits and makes for a great vegan alternative. However, in order to make sure you’re getting enough protein, it is probably worth adding another plant-based protein source to your meal such as legumes or quinoa.