The foul-smelling fruit making its way to a menu near you

Jackfruit is commonly used as a vegan substitute for pulled pork.
Jackfruit is commonly used as a vegan substitute for pulled pork. Photo: Rodger Cummins

Spiky, hard to prepare and oozing foul-smelling slime, it has long been seen as a "pauper's fruit".

However, the jackfruit is now much in demand after being hailed by chefs as a meat replacement superior to soy.

It is also beginning to appear in many forms on the shelves of supermarkets.

Crust's pulled jackfruit pizza.
Crust's pulled jackfruit pizza. Photo: Megan Johnston

With a texture that is similar to pulled pork or chicken, jackfruit has been praised as a convincing substitute for various meats by those following plant-based diets.

It is already stealing market share from established meat substitute brands such as Quorn, Linda McCartney and Cauldron.

Alex Santoro, co-founder of London vegan restaurant Genesis, told The Sunday Telegraph: "Many vegan restaurants use jackfruit as a substitute for pork, but we think it works best as a replacement for Peking duck.

"The stringy, soft texture is perfect and, coated in organic corn starch and fried, the outside becomes lovely and crispy.

"It is delicious with hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onions wrapped in a soft taco.

"It's also allergen-free, which makes it a great option for any of our customers with soy allergies."

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Major supermarkets are also using the fruit as they expand their meat-free ranges to cater for the UK's estimated 3.5 million vegans and vegetarians.

Waitrose has launched a $9 AUD pack of two vegan hoisin "duck" parcels with jackfruit. Its rival Sainsbury's is offering "sweet & smoky BBQ pulled jackfruit" as a pulled pork substitute at $6 a pack.

Meanwhile, some of the most popular chain restaurants are adding vegan dishes incorporating the fruit.

In August, Crust launched its barbecue pulled jackfruit pizza, featuring "smoky barbecue pulled jackfruit, spanish onions, and roasted capsicum on a tomato base, garnished with vegan aioli, parsley and freshly chopped chilli".

It's grown in the Northern Territory and in Tropical North Queensland, and is in season from June to April. The jackfruit is also importedfrom Asia in cans or in frozen form.

Because it grows in such abundance, it has long been regarded as an undesirable fruit in its native regions, with 75 per cent of produce being left to rot and going to waste.

But its image is being swiftly transformed, and Kerala, in south-west India, has now made it its official national fruit to garner further publicity and promote its own growers.

Jackfruit is also grown in other parts of India, south-east Asia, the East Indies, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The huge trees produce massive green fruits with a bumpy exterior.

On the inside, jackfruit contains many pale yellow, plump bulbs, which are edible and joined at the core. The seeds can also be cooked, eaten on their own, or ground into flour.

The Daily Telegraph UK