What the FLIK is...jackfruit?
Plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular and along with the consumer demand comes the need for innovative meat alternatives. You might expect to see seitan or tofu on the menu, but fruit, specifically jackfruit, is one that is making a surprising appearance.
So…what the FLIK is jackfruit?
To start, jackfruit isn’t the name of the fruit, it’s actually the name of a tree that bears the fruit. So the next time you’re discussing meat alternatives with your friends, you can drop some knowledge!
The tree is native to southwest India, but is known to grow in tropical environments across the globe. Its fruit is irregular in shape with a dark green and bumpy outer peel. But unlike the petite fruit often found in the produce aisle, jackfruit is one that stands out because of its size. This fruit can grow up to 100lbs with most jackfruit on store shelves coming in around 15 to 20lbs. (We’ll be looking for that 100lb fruit, though.) Once you crack it open, the inside is filled with pale yellow pods that come apart in a stringy, meat-like flesh, hence the use as a meat alternative. If you’re not keen on picking up a large fruit to crack open at home, look for it in jars or cans, sweetened or unsweetened. You can also find pre-marinated versions like jackfruit carnitas or bbq jackfruit that’s ready to heat and eat.
From a nutrition standpoint, this fruit has many benefits. It’s a good source of potassium and contains 2.5g of fiber in a single cup. However, unlike other meat alternatives such as tofu and seitan, jackfruit is much lower in protein with only 3g per cup as compared to 20g of protein in a cup of tofu. This is important for anyone looking to substitute meat in favor of jackfruit, since it’s unlikely to fill you up like meat or other meat-alternatives would.
The next time you see jackfruit on the menu in your FLIK café or local restaurant, give it a try. We think you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the years to come.
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