Why You Should Consider Stocking Your Pantry With Dried Jackfruit

If you're looking for a tasty, tropical flavor to add to your food, try dried jackfruit. In its raw, freshly picked form, jackfruit is a large, yellow-green fruit with bumpy skin on the outside and large seeds (also referred to as pods) on the inside, which are coated in a delicious yellow flesh. Cutting open a jackfruit might be a bit intimidating for a novice, but luckily this tropical fruit can be bought in a convenient dried and packaged version that works well for cooking. There are numerous possibilities for cooking with dried jackfruit, from sweets like smoothies and desserts to savory dishes like tacos and sliders.

Jackfruit grows on trees in parts of Asia, Africa, and South America. It tastes sweet and tropical, like a banana, mango, pineapple, and apple all rolled into one, and has even been compared to Juicy Fruit gum. According to Parade, Annie Ryu, CEO and owner of The Jackfruit Company in Colorado, says, "The flavor of that gum is rumored to have been modeled after the flavor of ripe jackfruit."  Although raw jackfruit has more nutritional value and some protein (making it great for vegetarian dishes), the dried unsweetened version is vegan, gluten-free, low in fat and calories, and has some nutrients such as potassium and fiber. 

How to use dried jackfruit as a flavor booster

Dried jackfruit is made by cutting the pods into thin slices and removing the moisture content using a variety of methods such as freeze-drying, hot-air drying, or vacuum drying. Removing the water not only creates a texture that's tougher than fresh jackfruit but also increases its shelf life. While tasty on its own as a chewy, healthy snack, cut-up pieces of dried jackfruit can also be added to a variety of foods like yogurt, smoothies, cereal, ice cream, salads, trail mix, and muffins. 

What's more, you can rehydrate dried jackfruit by letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water. Rehydrating it will make it easier to shred and use in recipes like pulled pork sliders, curry, tacos, and burgers. Although dried jackfruit contains no protein, it's often used as a meat substitute due to its texture that resembles pulled pork when shredded and cooked. Like the dried version, canned jackfruit is also available in grocery stores and is commonly used in stir-fries, tacos, and slider recipes. However, while easy to cook with, canned jackfruit is soaked in a brine that may alter the taste and make it more salty than sweet.