Signs that a jackfruit is ripe and ready to eat

If you're a fan of the international market, you may have already heard of jackfruit. It is the largest tree-born fruit in the world and has been popular in Southeast Asia for centuries. When first introduced to the U.S., this spiky fruit only came in cans, but now the actual fruit, which has been known to grow up to 100 pounds, is slowly gaining popularity and making its way into grocery stores like Whole Foods (via HuffPost). 

Jackfruit has become a popular meat substitute as it soaks up flavorings while cooking to take on a meat-like texture. Think pulled pork or shredded chicken and you're on the right track. There's no need to eliminate your favorite mouthwatering meat recipes completely when jackfruit offers a tasty alternative.

Now you're ready to expand your vegetarian recipe list, but before heading to the store it's important to know that not just any jackfruit will do. Just like when searching for the sweetest watermelon or perfectly picked dragon fruit, one should look for very specific things when it comes to picking your delicious and ripe jackfruit. First and foremost, if a jackfruit's skin is green, keeping looking. A ripe jackfruit will have a yellowish skin tone. When you pick it, give it a little squeeze, but not too hard. The spikes that give a jackfruit its rough texture should be soft to the touch, and the fruit should give a little to gentle pressure (via The Washington Post). 

Next, inhale. A ripe jackfruit cannot be missed this way. It will have a very powerful and distinct musky fragrance, which means sweet and juicy flesh is waiting inside the skin. Once you get your ripe jackfruit home, you'll be eager to start experimenting, but don't forget this very important step before cutting in. You'll need to oil your hands and the knife before cutting in as jackfruit is very sticky and otherwise impossible to handle.

Even though jackfruit may not taste just like chicken, you can still get creative with your favorite meatless recipes and not feel like you're missing out. It may even be fun to slide it into recipes for your friends and see if they notice the difference.