People who adhere to a plant-based diet and happen to reside in the U.S., which is one of the most meat-consuming nations in the world, might find some joy in the knowledge that the meat alternative market is booming. By 2027, the industry is expected to be worth over $35 billion, and is already worth $7 billion in the United States. In fact, ground in Wilson, North Carolina was recently broken to make room for the world’s largest cultivated meat plant.
As the world of plant-based cooking expands, jackfruit has proven to be one of the miraculous meat alternatives. The fruit itself may, on first glance, seem like a difficult ingredient to master for many home cooks. However, the yellow flesh hidden behind its formidable walls has a particularly mild flavor and a firm, yet shreddable, consistency. Both of these characteristics make it an excellent choice for barbecue and similar recipes, where the jackfruit takes a backseat to strong sauces and other ingredients. But there is one meaty meal that is more difficult to imagine transforming into a vegetarian dish, as it contains a body part in its name: ribs. Nevertheless, jackfruit manages to mimic the mouthfeel of rib meat, making it a great vegan substitute.
Turning Jackfruit Into Barbecue
At first glance, the thick, spiky exterior of a jackfruit may be intimidating, but cooking with jackfruit is actually a fairly simple task. The first step of preparing your produce may actually be the most difficult. You’ll have to contend with the fruit’s spiny shell, sticky sap, thick core, and large, plentiful seeds before separating each fruit pod from the exterior walls.
However, it must be noted that however difficult it is to deconstruct a jackfruit, it is not as arduous as breaking down an entire animal carcass. It likely isn’t even on the same level of culinary craftsmanship that is necessitated by prepping an individual cut of meat. Choosing to cook with jackfruit allows you to avoid things like skin and sinew, while still letting you experience the unique sensory experiences of chomping into a piece of meat-like texture.
Another factor that makes jackfruit difficult to work with may be a large factor in its popularity as a meat substitute — its spectacular size. It is the largest tree fruit in the world, and can weigh as much as 100 pounds. Furthermore, in its juvenile stages of development, before it has fully ripened, jackfruit has a solid consistency and hasn’t yet developed a full fruity sweetness, which makes it the perfect starting point when you’re making meatless barbecue. Last but not least, jackfruit has a lot more protein than the vast majority of fruits, carrying nearly three grams of protein per cup of fruit.
The Wider World Of Jackfruit Recipes
If a person who follows a plant-based diet were to limit their jackfruit meat mimicries exclusively to the realm of ribs, they would be missing out on the veritable cornucopia of jackfruit recipes that are available in this day and age. Jackfruit tacos are a delicious vegan-meaty dish, and when the formidable fruit is softened, it can be shredded into a delicious vegan pulled pork, which can then be used for scrumptious barbecue sandwiches.
Additionally, many restaurants and other food companies have experimented with jackfruit in their products. Though Trader Joe’s beloved jackfruit curry was taken off of the shelves, plant-based powerhouses like the brand jack&annie’s — which uses a jackfruit base to make a wide variety of meat substitutes — seem to be quickly gaining traction on a national level. At the fast food chain Smashburger, diners can enjoy jack&annie’s jackfruit in fast food menu items, as it can be substituted into a number of burgers or sandwiches available at the restaurant chain.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.