Left to its own devices, in ideal tropical growing conditions, a jackfruit tree can grow to a height of some 24m. It also produces the largest tree fruit in the world, each jackfruit weighing in at an average of five kilos with many of them well over an astonishing 45kilos.
Each tree is capable of producing two crops a year – anything from 150 – 250 fruit per tree; with each fruit containing hundreds of nutritious fleshy and seed-containing sections. It’s also pest and drought resistant, and virtually every part of it, one way or another, can be put to good use, including the leaves and timber.
A great source of vitamins and minerals
It’s a good source of vitamin B6, and contains high levels of niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium and potassium; and it contains no cholesterol, gluten, soy, oil, GMO’s, and artificial flavours, or other nasties.
No wonder it is being tipped as a ‘wonder tree’ and a valuable source of food for both humans and animals.
Textures of pulled pork or shredded chicken
When ripe its fruit can be enjoyed as fresh fruit, but when unripe it can be, and indeed is, used as a meat substitute. When cooked the young fruit takes on the texture of pulled pork or shredded chicken and with its mild flavour happily adapts to other flavours.
We first experienced Jackfruit a year or so back in a Filipino restaurant where it was used to add texture and substance to a delicious cheesy starter.
Upton’s Naturals specialises in natural foods
With so many of us simply cutting down on meat, or becoming completely vegetarian or vegan the jackfruit seems destined to play a useful role in helping to put nutritious meals on plates; and Upton’s Naturals is a company which specialises in natural foods, focusing in particular on meat alternatives.
We started off cooking and shredding Upton’s Naturals Original variety according to the instructions on the box but found it slightly too astringent, however, added to a chunky veggie tomato based soup – it worked really well giving the soup a little piquancy and added texture.
In all honesty the Thai Curry flavour wasn’t to our taste, but next time we will add it to an actual Thai curry, we reckon that that would work well.
Our favourite was Bar-B-Que with its really strong smoky bbq flavour and powerful, serious punch of heat; we have yet to try Sweet & Smoky – it sounds interesting.
Upton’s Naturals can be bought from stores such as Holland & Barrett, certain Budgens and selected Sainsbury’s, specialty retailers and online through planetorganic.com. The jackfruit comes in 200g boxed pouches useful for storing in the larder. RRP £3.95. uptonsnaturals.com/