Jackfruit is definitely an intimidating fruit! Its appearance is Jurassic, as I have heard it described, and it is the largest born tree fruit in the world. Did you know that they are capable of reaching 100 pounds? Oh, what I would do for 100 pounds of jackfruit 🙂 But have no fear, Sweet Simple Vegan is here to help you cut through your very first jackfruit at home!I only discovered about three years ago at my local Asian market, but it has been a favorite in my household ever since.
When I first spotted it in my local Asian market, I was terrified! What on earth is that dragon egg-looking thing for sale?! Luckily, there was a worker there who was enthusiastic about my first encounter with jackfruit. He told me to wait where I was and rushed to the back with the jackfruit. He came back and handed me my first sample of one of my new favorite fruits. It was love at first bite. Sweet, slightly crunchy, and reminiscent of a flavor I could not at the moment recall (which I later was informed that this is the flavor that Juicy Fruit gum was based on, who knew!).
I ended up buying the other half of the jackfruit that he cut and bringing it home to my family to experience. What the worker did not inform me, however, was that the jackfruit was full of latex (its ‘sap’) and that opening it at home without any prior experience would turn out to be a nightmare. I got the goo everywhere, and did not know how to take it off! After a google search (of course), we found that coconut oil would do the trick in removing the latex.
That first jackfruit that I had tried was the only latex nightmare that I experienced. All of the jackfruits that I had cut into following that one were never as latex-filled because I cut the fruit at peak ripeness. I have been told that it is dependent on the ripeness of the jackfruit, which I know from experience can confirm as true. After that day, I come prepared and developed the method that I am sharing with you today.
For Christmas of 2013, my family gifted me a jackfruit! It was one of the best presents I have received 😉
I should note that the first photo in this post below (with what you need) is of a different jackfruit than the rest of the tutorial. The photos took two attempts because of quality issues, so that is why the two are of different sizes! This is how I cut my jackfruit, and is by no means me saying that this is “the proper way”, it is just what has worked for me!
>> I cut and “clean” the whole jackfruit at once, to get it over with and save me time during the week when I want to eat some. Therefore, this tutorial is going to show you how to do just that. If you don’t want to cut the whole fruit, simply follow the instructions but only work with a section of the jackfruit. <<
Ripeness: I leave my jackfruit with the rest of my fruit stash in my living room, and once my whole house has a beautiful jackfruit aroma flowing through it, I know it’s ready. The outside turns more yellow in color, is softer (but not mushy and rotting), and the spikes seem to appear larger in their base area.
Plastic wrap, to cover the counter top and to allow for easy clean up
Large sharp knife
Gloves (optional, discussed below)
2 bowls: 1 large for the fruit, 1 small for the seeds
A jackfruit, duh 😉
Get your compost bin ready! I make sure to compost all of the scraps from my jackfruit because there is A LOT and my garden loves it 🙂 If you are interested in learning more about composting, and my organic home garden, you can check out a full detailed post here.
Next, cover your counter with plastic wrap. I covered the counter the width of 2 sheets of plastic wrap, making sure to overlap them a bit in the middle.Gloves?! Yes, gloves. Jackfruit has a natural latex (sap) that can get stuck on your hands and requires some effort to remove it later on. You could definitely skip the gloves if your jackfruit does not have a lot of latex, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
An alternative to gloves is to simply cover your hands with coconut oil before starting, just be extra careful when handling the knife as it may slip out of your oiled hand.Oil it up, oil it up! I cover my knife with coconut oil to decrease the amount of latex that sticks to it. This will not prevent it, but it does a good job in decreasing the mess you have to deal with later on.Continue cutting your jackfruit into rounds, about 1 1/2-2″ wide, until you reach the end of the fruit.Voila, you have all of your jackfruit rounds. Note that the end piece (the one I first cut off) was cut in half again, as you can see above.Look at all that goo on the knife! Although you had applied coconut oil at the start, a new coat may be necessary, depending on how much latex your jackfruit contains. Those heavier in latex will have a white-colored goo, whereas this one had a light/clear one that wasn’t too heavy.The next thing to do is cut into each individual round, and remove the white core. If there is any white left after the first run-through, simply go back and recut it until all, or at least most, of it is removed.Time to get diggin’! Now is the fun part, actually taking out the sweet juicy fruit-flavored goodness! Lay out the fruit into a flat strip, and begin removing each pod, trying to avoid pulling out the excess white stringy pulp.Pull out all of the pods until there are none remaining on the strip of jackfruit, then discard the strip into your compost (or trash if you do not compost, but you definitely should!).For the end piece, it is easiest if you flip it inside out (as seen above) and pull out the pods.After you have discarded the scraps, what I like to do is “clean” each pod. This is time consuming, yes, but it allows for convenience throughout the week when I want some jackfruit! This is also totally optional. You can just place the pods into the bowl and clean them as you eat them, but I like to do it all at once and eat them in peace later on 🙂 Take the jackfruit pod, and “open” it up so that you see the inside seed and its covering. Pull out the seed and its covering. Discard the “covering”, and place the seeds into the small bowl, and place the “cleaned” pod into a large bowl. Continue doing this until you “clean” out all of the pods.
Clean up: Wipe the knife with a towel to remove the oil and latex. Do not rinse it just yet. Put more oil on the knife, and wipe again to remove more latex. You can repeat this until you have removed as much as you can, Then, you can wash the knife with soap and water. As for the counter, simply gather the plastic from the outside in, into a large ball, and discard. Wipe the counter as needed if there were any spills on the sides. Store the jackfruit in the refrigerator, covered, for let’s say 3-4 days. I mean, it’s not like the jackfruit is going to even last that long anyways 😉So now what to do with the seeds?What a lot of people don’t know is that you can actually cook and eat the seeds of the jackfruit! Once cooked, they have a consistency similar to a potato or roasted chestnuts, and make a great snack or even compliment to salads. Check out my recipe for Roasted Garlic Jackfruit Seed Hummus (bean, nut & oil-free).
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