Usually when someone mentions a fruit, your brain conjures up an image of what it looks like. However, when someone mentions jackfruit, is it just me that looks blankly as my brain tries to process the image of Jack from downstairs and a ball like fruit of sorts? No? Must just me be then.
Known previously as a pest plant (would you believe it) in South East Asia, Jackfruit was considered the last resort for a meal choice by farmers. It has since evolved as an uncanny meat substitute and is taking the world by storm – with stats showing that google searches for it have increased by 400%!
Jackfruit has quickly become a sensation in the vegan community, and with good reason! It is incredibly versatile, especially since it has 2 completely different flavour profiles as it matures from ripe to unripe. The ripe state consists of a sweeter yellow flesh that you can remove and eat. However, the much more popular form of the fruit is in its unripe state.
Unripe jackfruit is a vegan meat chef's dream. Off white and flavourless, it could easily pass of as most meats when flavoured well, with the biggest selling point being it’s pulled pork like texture.
So why should you eat jackfruit?
1. An Incredibly Rich Source of Vitamin C
2. It's Packed With Skin Loving Trace Minerals
3. It's a Great Source of Fibre
Although not commonly associated with preventing aging in your skin, having a healthy gut is necessary to maintain healthy skin. For what is now being referred to as the gut-skin axis, studies have repeatedly indicated that good gut health can help to reduce inflammation in your skin – a prime cause of collagen degradation. Jackfruit provides a healthy dose of fibre that can help keep things chugging along in your gut.
Additionally, the fibre in jackfruit has also been shown to help control your blood sugar. By preventing sharp spikes in your blood sugar, not only will your energy levels remain higher and more stable during the day, but you’ll prevent large quantities of sugar from your gut entering your blood and consequently your skin. Slower sugar delivery to your skin will prevent the rate of advanced glycation ends (AGE's) being attached to your collagen mocules, enabling antioxidants in your skin to be able to protect collagen degradation much more effectively.
4. It's Full of Flavonoids
Aside from its vitamin C and trace mineral gold mines, jackfruit delivers a generous dose of flavonoids. Flavonoids are a fan favourite at Raw Beauty HQ and with good reason. These phytonutrients stop environmental stressors from pollution or our friend the sun, from causing free radical damage to our collagen. They are also great to help reduce inflammation for individuals suffering from acne and rosacea as well as inflammation around your bones – a major cause of joint pain!
5. It’s One of The Most Sustainable ‘Meat’ Sources
If all that collagen building, skin nourishing goodness wasn’t enough to tip the scale in favour of the humble jackfruit, how about the fact that it is good for the planet! The trees that jackfruit grow on are naturally drought and pest resistant and can grow in very hot climates. Not only does this make them the ideal crop for farmers, but they don’t need to be drowned in chemical pesticides that will do no favours to our collagen! Additionally, replacing animal rearing for jackfruit plantations will tremendously benefit the environment – so eating jackfruit could reduce the impacts of climate change – which is a total win for the Raw Beauty Lab Community!
Now that you’re a self-proclaimed expert on the topic, lets move on to one of many (many) ways you can enjoy this literal jack of all trades!
Vegan Jackfruit Tacos
2 500g cans of green (unripe) jackfruit in water, drained and rinsed
1-2 tbsp of avocado oil (can use regular vegetable oil too)
1 large white onion, finely diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of vegetable stock
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp liquid aminos (can swap for low sodium soy sauce)
2 tbsp low sugar barbecue sauce (shop bought or home-made)
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of sea salt, to taste
For the Tacos:
8 gluten free tortillas
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 large ripe avocado
A handful of spinach
1/2 cup coriander, roughly chopped
A bowl of coconut yoghurt
1 lime cut into wedges
Start by cutting the jackfruit into smaller chunks. Then shred the jackfruit either with your hands or with two forks to get that pulled pork kind of texture.
Next, add the oil to a large skillet and place on a medium heat. Add in the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the shredded jackfruit and sauté for a couple more minutes. Then add the cumin, paprika, chili powder and sauté until for another couple minutes until the jackfruit is crispy.
Pour in the vegetable broth and liquid aminos and cook down the liquid on a low heat. This can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
Finally stir in the maple syrup and barbecue sauce and lime juice just before all the liquid has disappeared and cook for another minute. Taste for salt and add some more if required before removing from the heat.
Warm up another large skillet and heat up the gluten free tortillas one at a time on a low heat for about a minute on both sides.
Then start assembling your tacos.
First add in the jackfruit ‘meat’. Then follow with a handful of onions and a couple of slices of avocado.
Finally top with a sprinkle of coriander, squeeze a lemon edge over the tortilla, wrap it up and enjoy!