You'd be hard-pressed to find a plant-based diner who hasn't heard of jackfruit. Luckily for those who can't find it in the produce section at their local grocery store or don't want to lug it back home, it's pretty easy to find in a can. Like most canned goods, however, it needs a little zhuzhing up before it hits your plate. There are many ways to best prepare canned jackfruit for sweet and savory applications, from seasoning it well to using it as a dessert.Before it's ripe, the tropical plant, which is native to parts of Asia, Africa, and South America, makes an excellent meat substitute thanks to its hearty texture and mild flavor — think pulled pork, meaty stews, and tacos. When it's ripe, it takes on the sweetness of any other fruit. It's also more resistant to drought than other plants, which, along with its nutritional benefits, is why biotechnology researcher Shyamala Reddy called it a "miracle" crop in The Guardian.
Jackfruit also happens to be the largest tree fruit in the world, sometimes weighing as much as an average-sized Cocker Spaniel. Don't be intimidated, though, here's how to prepare your canned jackfruit for the best results.
Don't Skip The Seasoning
Let's say you're hosting a vegan taco party, and you secure a few cans of jackfruit. You're in for a lot less work than if you were slow-roasting pork for traditional carnitas tacos, but you definitely shouldn't serve your jackfruit straight from the can. While the unripe fruit's lack of flavor makes it a perfect swap for various types of meat, it also means it needs seasoning and a little heat for the full dupe effect.
Whether you choose canned unripe jackfruit in water or brine, start by rinsing it in a colander to get rid of its tinny flavor. Then, drop it in boiling water for 10 minutes to tenderize the fruit and make it easier to shred like pulled pork. Once you pat the jackfruit dry, it's ready for whatever marinade or spices suit your fancy. A blend of cumin, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, and garlic powder would be a good place to start.
After it's seasoned, jackfruit can be fried, sautéed, tossed in a slow cooker, or roasted at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until its edges are nice and crispy. When you're not in the mood for tacos, jackfruit can be used in plenty of other dishes. According to Reddit users, the fruit makes for an excellent meat replacement in biryani, curry, and chili dishes.
When it comes to using canned jackfruit in desserts, there's a lot less preparation involved. When ripe, some say the fruit tastes like a subtle combination of banana, apple, and mango.
Davina Go of Davina Da Vegan uses the fruit as one of three ingredients in a jackfruit sorbet, blending it with mango and banana. The recipe calls for fresh jackfruit, but the canned stuff would work just fine in a pinch. Davina recommends freezing the fruit before blending for the best results.
Over on a different Reddit board, users recommend using canned jackfruit to make jam with sugar and coconut cream, cooked "low and slow till it thickens." In South India, you might find a slightly less sweet version called chakkavaratti, which the blog My Diverse Kitchen describes as a "halwa-like jam" made from pureed jackfruit, jaggery, ghee, cardamom, the occasional dash of dried ginger.
Of course, if your jackfruit craving is stronger than your patience in the kitchen, you can always eat it from the can.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.