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Jackfruit 101

Jackfruit is taking the internet (and our office) by storm. If you haven't heard of or tried this newly popular southeast Asian fruit yet, prepare to be amazed. The photo below is indeed not featuring shredded chicken or pork, but jackfruit. Vegetarians, vegans, and those wanting the texture of pork without the ridiculous calories it brings can all rejoice!

Slowly but surely getting easier to find, canned jackfruit is available in most Asian grocery stores and some health food stores. When buying jackfruit, skip the gigantic fresh ones and stick to canned. Be sure to choose a type labeled "young jackfruit in brine" because some jackfruit is canned in sugary syrup.

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When you're ready to cook, drain and rinse the jackfruit. It has a hard core that needs to be cut off and thrown away, leaving you with the soft (easily shreddable) edges.

Using your fingers or two forks, finely shred the jackfruit until it resembles pulled chicken or pork.

You can actually eat the jackfruit once it's shredded, but for the best texture we recommend heating it for several minutes in a pan over medium-high heat to evaporate excess moisture. Then toss in whatever sauce you'd like. The possibilities are endless, but here we went simple with some barbecue sauce.

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Jackfruit doesn't have any real nutritional benefits besides being a very low calorie alternative to meat, so be sure to pair it with a good source of protein. For example, we threw ours on top of a baked sweet potato with cooked spinach. Vegetarians would benefit from a dollop of plain Greek yogurt atop, and vegans might enjoy a drizzle of hummus instead.

Below is the nutritional break down for a serving of jackfruit from one can of Aroy-D brand (with no sauce or accompaniments). Most cans (depending on how big the inedible core is) contain about 1 cup of usable jackfruit, which comes out to two servings:

SERVES: 2 CALORIES 70; FAT 3.5 g (sat 0g); PROTEIN 0g; CARB 7g; FIBER 1.5g; SUGARS 0g; CHOL 0mg; SODIUM 298mg

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