Jack fruit tropical fruit tree 1’-2’ tall
A relative of figs and breadfruit, jackfruit grows in tropical areas of Southeast Asia, Brazil and Africa. While it is technically a fruit, its consistency is similar to that of chicken or pork. It has a fairly neutral taste when young, so it takes on the flavor of whatever sauce or seasoning you pair it with. It has a stringy consistency that works especially well with tangy barbecue sauce.
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It’s a healthy vegan meat replacement and it’s one of the biggest food trends among vegetarians, vegans and even meat lovers. Best of all, it’s the key to making an insanely delicious barbecue pulled “pork” sandwich that you won’t believe is vegan.
Products that I couldn’t have imagined a few years ago, like vegan beef jerky and seitan bacon, are hugely popular today and are showing up in the grocery carts of committed vegans and meat eaters alike thanks to their health profile. In fact, sales of meat alternatives rose from $69 million in 2011 to $109 million in 2015.
As to whether jackfruit is an amazing protein source like real meat, the answer is “meh.” The seeds of the jackfruit are rich in protein, but the fruit itself is not. A 2.65-ounce serving has just 1 gram of protein, compared with 21 grams found in the same amount of chicken breast. You can also buy jackfruit seed flour to bake with, but it’s still quite hard to find.