You Don’t Know Jack(Fruit): Tips and Tricks

Jackfruit can be a huge, lumbering mystery to the unfamiliar chef. Whether it’s the size, shape, or completely different flavor profiles in its ripe and unripe states, jackfruit can be a daunting ingredient, but it doesn’t have to be! Expand your knowledge and get cooking with these tips and tricks.

  • Did you know? Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the entire world, with fully mature specimens often weighing in close to 100 pounds! 
  • Perhaps more so than other fruits, there is a stark contrast between ripe and unripe jackfruit. Young, unripe jackfruit has a flavor and texture that is often compared to pulled pork, making it a great meat substitution in vegetarian and vegan dishes. Ripe jackfruit, on the other hand, sweetens with age and tastes more akin to a classic tropical fruit like pineapple or mango. 
  • Due to its huge size, it can be hard to find whole jackfruit in your local farmers market or from your distributor. Additionally, we’d only recommend whole jackfruit to chefs who foresee going through a lot of it; there’s nothing worse than seeing good fruit go to waste! However, don’t despair if you only need a little. Many markets will precut both the ripe and unripe varieties into smaller, more manageable amounts. 
  • If you do decide to go with whole jackfruit, a strong smell and hollow sound are good indicators of ripeness. Additionally, it should have a slight give when exposed to pressure and be free of any bruises or discoloration. 
  • When preparing whole jackfruit, it’s integral to oil your knife before cutting into it. Ripe jackfruit is extremely sticky, and can be tricky to prepare without the proper precautions. 
  • Once you’ve whittled down your jackfruit into smaller pieces, it should last in the refrigerator for a week or so before diminishing in quality.