BBQ Jackfruit

Several more great jackfruit recipes

Check out what was available at Whole Foods in Virginia 7/15

Jackfruit or Jac fruit is related to mulberry and fig, and is the largest tree-borne fruit. Usually they are 20-30 pounds, but up to 80#, even over 100# is possible. The tree is cold sensitive in the Treasure Coast and requires protection especially when young, but once a little older, they are similar in sensitivity to mango. The flavor is sweet banana/pineapple. Think Juicy Fruit gum. When cooking, the unripe or raw fruit is used and takes on the flavor of the sauce. It makes a great curry.

An unripe jackfruit can be hard to find and any jackfruit can be intimidating the first time you prepare one. Here is a link to a tutorial on handling raw jackfruit. (More info on cutting jackfruit). If a jackfruit variety is typically 20-30 pounds, a raw fruit would be about 3-5#. Often you need to thin the fruit so the tree is not overloaded: use those thinnings. Fresh raw jackfruit should be very immature, otherwise the core and rag will be tough and the arils will be too dominant compared to the rag. The seeds should be about the size of large jelly beans. For the 2017 Taste of the Tropics, the fruit were 3#–3.5#, and could have been a little larger. But a 10# fruit will likely have fully developed seeds and not work. The rag (similar to the “threads” in spaghetti squash) is what gives the dish the “pulled pork” texture. Jackfruit, raw or ripe, freezes well once you cut it up. 

To make things simpler, this recipe assumes canned jackfruit. You will then be familiar with how a fresh one will look once your tree starts producing. You can find canned green jackfruit in an Asian food store. Be sure it is in water or brine. If it is in syrup, it is ripe jackfruit arils and not suitable for this recipe. (BTW, arils canned in syrup are a pitiful substitute for the real thing.)

If fresh: In a large stock pot bring salted water to a boil. Put a sheet of parchment paper on a cutting board, oil a knife and your hands and slice the raw jackfruit into round sections 1/2″ thick. It will briefly ooze latex. Blanch the slices in the water about 20 minutes to soften the skin enough to easily cut it off. Let cool, cut off the skin. Squeeze apart the rag & grate the core or cut into bite size segments. Use immediately or freeze for later. If you are preparing a large amount to freeze, it may be easier to use a food processor with a large shredder blade to grate the whole slices or half-slices. Divide them into freezer bags with one recipe per bag. Defrost in the fridge when ready to cook.


2 cans of green jackfruit, prepped.

1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs cumin seed or powdered
{ option 1a, with onions:
1 large onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 cans (20oz, 10oz drained each) green jackfruit in water or brine (or 1 1/4 lb. fresh)
{ option 1b, without onions:
1 C cauliflower, steamed soft
1 Tbs sesame tahini
{ option 2 if you like hot:
1 Tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or fresh hot pepper to taste minced
1 Tbs molasses
1 cup barbecue sauce (recipe for Guava-Mango BBQ sauce)
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the jackfruit in a strainer. Cut the core (the triangular tip) and grate or dice that part. The rest is the seeds and “rag”. Squeeze the rag to separate the individual threads. The seeds at this stage will be will be about 1/2″ the long way.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown the cumin seed.
(option 1a Saute the onion and garlic 5-7 minutes till tender.)
Add the jackfruit to the pan along with the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
(option 1b Steam cauliflower till soft, add to pan with tahini.)
Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes till tender, stirring as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For alternate textures, cut the jackfruit into bite size pieces, without separating the threads. Either cook as is or pre-cook by pan roasting until lightly browned.

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