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 also makes a great curry or chili (chili recipe from June’18 meeting).

Without your own tree, an unripe jackfruit can be hard to find and any jackfruit is intimidating the first time you prepare one. Here is a link to a tutorial on handling raw jackfruit. (More info on cutting jackfruit). (Video of cutting a jackfruit) If a jackfruit variety is typically 30 pounds, a raw fruit would be about 5-10#. 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 3.5#, and could have been a little larger. In 2018 it was about 8#. That made enough for 3 double recipes. The rag (similar to the “threads” in spaghetti squash) is what gives the dish the “pulled pork” texture. (The 11.5# display fruit at the Taste of the Tropics event was too big.)
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: When you pick a jackfruit, it is best to prop it against the tree with the stem down for several minutes to allow the latex to escape. 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 ~3/4″ thick. It may briefly ooze latex. Blanch the slices in the water about 20-30 minutes until you can stick a fork in it. 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.

                                                                  8# jackfruit, sliced

.                       jackfruit slices cooked until soft enough to separate rag & seeds

.                                        2 cans of jackfruit, rag separated, core grated

Double Recipe:
2 cans of green jackfruit, prepped. (A 20 oz. can is 10 oz. drained)
1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs cumin seed or powdered
1 medium 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)
{ optional 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.
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.
Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the flavors are blended, 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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