Eden Vegan’s guide to jackfruit: what, why and how

Jackfruit is a great meat alternative if you're looking to add more plant based dishes to your diet. Tess Eden, aka Eden Vegan, shows us how.

By Tess Eden

Follow Tess and her vegan adventures on the ‘gram @eden.vegan, or check out her website Eden Vegan.

To fuel your body in a positive way is Tess Eden’s food philosophy.

“Everyone has to eat, I just want to do so without having a negative impact on animals or the environment.”

Her best tip for people thinking of going vegan is to start small. “It’s not always realistic to go vegan overnight. Every little change you make can have a positive impact.”

Here, Tess shares her guide to jackfruit, explains why it’s such a winner, and shows us how to make some delicious dishes with it.

What is jackfruit?

Grown in South East Asia and other tropical environments, jackfruit is the largest tree-born fruit in the world weighing up to 55kgs! We don’t have the climate to grow our own in New Zealand, it is available either canned or pre marinated.

There are two different stages of jackfruit, not to be mistaken with each other.

Unripe Young Green Jackfruit in brine.
White in colour, used in savoury dishes.


Ripe Yellow Jackfruit.
Sticky and sweet, used in desserts in South East Asia.

Unless you want your jackfruit burger to have a sweet, sticky taste you need to pay attention to the can you’re purchasing.

All of my recipes use young jackfruit. You can buy it in cans, or get pre-marinated packs.

Why do you use it?

Jackfruit has a mild taste, absorbs flavour well and shreds into pieces that replicate pulled pork or shredded chicken. This texture is what makes it a great choice for creating vegan versions of meat dishes.

Jackfruit is becoming increasingly popular in the western world and for good reason. As you know, swapping meat out for a plant based dish a few times a week can reduce your carbon footprint, improve your health and save the lives of innocent animals.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a vegan or a carnivore, it’s important to eat a wide range of plants, and adding jackfruit to a dish adds variety your plate. It is low cost at around $2 per can and is low in carbs, high in fibre.

Although not particularly high in protein, you can pair it with chickpeas and other plant protein sources.

On top of that, it’s bloody delicious. Jackfruit is a very adaptable ingredient. It can be juicy, sweet, filling, hearty, tangy, all depending on how you marinade it!

How can I use it?

Jackfruit is best either pan fried or oven baked. You can purchase it in pre-marinated packs or buy it canned and add flavour to it yourself.

It can be added to dishes to replicate a meat like texture. Contrary to what you might have thought, jackfruit itself does not taste like meat. However getting a meaty flavour is achieved by marinating it in certain sauces and spices.

Where can I find it?

In Wellington I purchase mine from V1 Vegan or Moore Wilsons.

Both canned and pre-marinated jackfruit is becoming increasingly easy to find and is stocked at most supermarkets.

How do I prepare canned jackfruit?

Drain: Take a can of young green jackfruit and drain out the liquid. Rinse in a colander with cold water and pat dry before placing on a chopping board.

Slice: Slice the jackfruit pieces into smaller chunks. Depending on the dish you are using this for, take out the large seeds and discard.

Shred: Shred each individual piece of jackfruit with a fork. If you don’t have much time you can do so with a sharp knife as well. The end result should be lots of tiny pieces.

Marinate: In a large bowl or container soak the jackfruit in your marinade of choice. The longer you soak the jackfruit, the stronger the flavours will be. You can leave it in the fridge overnight, or if you’re short on time just soak for 10 minutes before use.

Now what?

Try these yummy recipes!


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