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I was first introduced to jackfruit in southern India, where the edible orbs dangle from trees like prickly green footballs. In hot and steamy South Asia, they’re eaten fresh, cooked, and dried, in both sweet and savory preparations. In the mainland United States and other non-tropical corners of the world, the fruit is more commonly found in cans at Asian markets, where you can buy it soaked in sweet syrup or packed in salty brine. I didn’t actually try jackfruit until years later, but when I did—wow! What a revelation. When squeezed dry, cooked with Mexican spices, and served in a warm corn tortilla, jackfruit morphs into a weirdly meat-like facsimile without the cholesterol or cruelty of a traditional carnitas taco.
Jackfruit’s chewy, slightly stringy texture (think pineapple, without the sweetness) and mild flavor make it adaptable to all sorts of interesting recipes, including French-style Jackfruit au Vin and middle-eastern gyros.
My new favorite way to use jackfruit is in this easy mock “crab” salad recipe. It tastes great stuffed into a sandwich, served atop a lettuce leaf, or scooped up with chips or crackers.
Jackfruit “Crab” Salad Serves 4 1 19-oz. can young jackfruit, rinsed and squeezed dry in a tea towel (about 1 cup) 2 Tbs. Vegenaise or other vegan mayo ¼ cup minced onion ¼ tsp. dulse flakes or powder ½ tsp. curry powder Salt and pepper to taste Combine ingredients in bowl, using fork to break jackfruit up into smaller pieces. Chill before serving. ——- Aurelia d’Andrea’s passion for travel is deeply intertwined with her love of food. Whether in Perth, Prague, or Phnom Penh, she always gravitates toward local markets in search of edible treasures, and takes pleasure in recreating tasty travel memories at home in her tiny Parisian kitchen.