Here's Why The Jackfruit Is Taking Over The Vegan World

The jackfruit is a fruit notable for its huge size (it grows up to a whopping 80 pounds) and unique flavor, said to be reminiscent Juicy Fruit gum. It has its origins in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia but is grown around the world in warm climates such as Mexico and Uganda (via Monitor). When it's ripe, the yellow or orange pods are snacked on as is, taking care to avoid the massive brown pit in the middle of each pod (though Frieda's notes the pit itself can be boiled and eaten as well). 

While jackfruit is a popular fruit to eat while ripe, it's actually the unripe version of the fruit that is making waves in the vegetarian and vegan food world these days. For years throughout Southeast Asia and India it has been used in its unripe form (when unripe it's also just referred to as "green jackfruit) as an ingredient in curries (via Vegan Richa), but it's recently been introduced to the American market as a substitute for pulled pork in barbecue and filling for tacos.

How to use jackfruit in vegan cuisine

Because of its meaty and slightly stringy texture and consistency when the fruit is unripe, and since it takes on the flavor of whatever it's cooked in (similar to tofu), it can be used in a variety of dishes (via The Independent). If you're interested in using jackfruit to whip up some vegetarian treats, you might be in luck. 

If you've got a good Asian or Indian grocery store in your neighborhood, you might be lucky enough to find fresh green jackfruit in the produce section. If not, it should be easy enough to find in canned form at any Asian food store worth its salt. And, you don't want to go through the steps of preparing it, a number of companies sell frozen jackfruit barbecue filling for use in sandwiches or tacos. They suggest sprinkling a bit of coleslaw on top and you'll be good to go.