Jackfruit…The Which — April 15, 2021

Jackfruit…The Which

Jackfruit can be found fresh, canned, or frozen in many specialty supermarkets and Asian food stores.







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Fresh Jackfruit

Fresh jackfruit can be purchased at Asian food markets and specialty stores…where it’s typically sold by the pound, The typical jackfruit will weigh somewhere between ten and twenty-five pounds.

The smell of a jackfruit indicates its ripeness: The stronger the jackfruit smells, the riper the jackfruit is.

Fresh jackfruit can often be hard to find when it is not in season, but can be useful at any stage of ripeness.







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Unripe Jackfruit..

Unripe jackfruit is green and will become yellow as it ripens. This unripe, green jackfruit is what most of us will find the most interesting and useful because it has a texture very similar to chicken or pulled pork, making it an excellent meat substitute—in such savory dishes as curries, pies, tacos, soups, stir-fries, chili, stews, wraps, and burritos.

Honestly, I’m not sure that I’d ever go to the trouble of buying a whole jackfruit and processing it myself…it seems like a big pain in the butt.

But…

If you’re willing to try it and let me know just how easy or difficult it is, go for it. I just had surgery on my hand and will be content to buy either the pre-packaged and pre-seasoned jackfruit chunks that are found in the freezer or the canned stuff…both already packaged to have that look and texture of meat that makes it such a great meat substitute.

If you do go all out and buy the real deal, first you have to cut through the thick, green coral reef-like skin with a sharp serrated knife. Chilling the jackfruit in the fridge for a while before breaking into it will make this easier to do.

Once you’ve dug your way into the jackfruit, you will find a creamy white interior filled with large, pale yellow seed-containing bulbs that are connected to the fruit’s core.

Keep slicing until you have large chunks of fruit (leaving the skin on).

Before you can use the fresh jackfruit in recipes, you will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for about 45 minutes…until the inner flesh is soft and a bit stringy, like chicken. You could also do this in your pressure cooker.



If you are working with a fresh, unripe jackfruit, first cut the fruit in half. Next remove the yellow fruit pods and seeds from the skin and core with either a knife or your hands. The white, fibrous parts inside of the jackfruit will be very sticky, so you probably should wear gloves while doing this.

You will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for at least thirty minutes…until the flesh becomes soft and stringy…the same texture as pulled pork or chicken….before you can use the jackfruit in any of the recipes that I will sharing in the next few posts..(more on this later)…



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Ripe Jackfruit

Ripe jackfruit has a rather neutral flavor that will absorb the flavor of whatever other foods it is cooked with, much like a potato. Fresh, ripe jackfruit can be eaten on its own, added to yogurt or oatmeal. or used to make a wide range of recipes—including desserts.

Often stores will sell packages of precut jackfruit because the entire jackfruit itself can be so big. Always choose this instead of buying a whole one and going to the trouble of cutting it yourself…will save you time, money, and effort in the long run.

Regardless what form of jackfruit you buy, always avoid fruit with black or dark spots.

If you buy green jackfruit, you need to go ahead and use it while it still is green…or process and freeze it as soon as possible.

Cut, ripened jackfruit can be stored in plastic in the fridge for up to a one week or in the freezer for up to a month.



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Jackfruit Seeds

You can also roast or boil the jackfruit seeds and then combine with seasonings to be eaten whole…or can be used to make hummus, top a salad, make a smoothie, or grind into flour.









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Canned Jackfruit

Canned jackfruit will be packed in either a brine or a syrup. Always choose jackfruit packed in brine because this will be better for making savory dishes.

Also check to make sure that the labels includes the words “green,” “young,” or “tender” if you plan on using the jackfruit as a meat substitute..



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Jackfruit Products

These days it seems like more and more foods containing jackfruit are sprouting up at your local Whole Foods, Sprouts, and the health-food section of just about any traditional grocery store. Try them. You might find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I was as to how great these products can be.

Jackfruit…The Why — April 13, 2021

Jackfruit…The Why

Jackfruit in bowl

Jackfruit has an impressive nutrition profile…containing nearly every vitamin and mineral that is recommended for healthy diets…including significant amounts of vitamins A and C…as well as the minerals potassium, riboflavin, and manganese…and the antioxidants.



According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of raw, sliced jackfruit contains…



Calories…157…Half of a cup of jackfruit contains 95 calories.



Protein…2.84 grams……the edible pulp of a jackfruit contains almost three grams of protein…way more than the typical zero to one grams in apples and mangoes.



Fat...Jackfruit contains only a small amount of fat…1.06 grams.



Carbs…38.36 grams..Approximately 92% of the calories come from carbs.



Fiber...2.5 grams



Sugars…31.48 grams





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Jackfruit and Vitamins

A food is considered a “rich source” of a particular vitamin or mineral if it contains 20% or more of the Daily Value, DV, of that particular vitamin or mineral.

Vitamin B1…9%DV….105mg

Vitamin B2…Riboflavin…5%…0.055mg

Vitamin B6…25%DV

Vitamin C…22.6 mg…18% RDI







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Jackfruit and Minerals

  • Copper: 15% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 11% of the RDI
  • Potassium……739mg…14% of the RDI
  • Magnesium…15%RDI…48mg
  • Manganese: 16% of the RDI







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Jackfruit and Antioxidants

Jackfruit is a good source of antioxidants, including carotenoids—which have been shown to help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease…and flavanones—which contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels — important factors in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.









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Health Benefits

Blood Pressure…The potassium found in jackfruit can help lower your blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium and reducing tension in the walls of blood vessels.

Cancer…Jackfruit contains antioxidants that help prevent the oxidative stress caused by free radicals that could lead to several chronic diseases, including cancer.





Cholesterol Levels…Eating jackfruit seeds may help reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, that can cause a waxy deposit to build up along the inner walls of your arteries…resulting in restricted blood flow, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke…as well as raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, that helps remove LDL cholesterol from blood vessels and send it back to the liver.



Diabetes…Jackfruit has a fairly low glycemic index (GI), meaning that your blood sugar will not spike quickly after you eat it. Jackfruit also contains flavonoid antioxidants that have been shown to help balance your blood sugar levels and keep your pancreas healthy, which is important because the pancreas is what organ actually produces insulin.



Digestive health…Jackfruit is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber…as well as the prebiotics needed to help support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.



Heart Health…The potassium, fiber and antioxidants found in jackfruit may lower your risk of heart disease.



Immune System…The vitamin A and C content of jackfruit may help prevent illnesses and reduce the risk of viral infections.



Skin and Bones…Jackfruit is a good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that all already know is good for maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is also needed in order for your body to produce collagen, a protein so very important for maintaining healthy skin, bones, connective tissues, blood vessels and cartilage….and for healing wounds. Not only that, jackfruit has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

Jackfruit…The What — April 11, 2021

Jackfruit…The What

Jackfruit in bowl

I have been using the meals.com app to plan our meals for about ten years now, and when we were faced with the dreaded d-word….diabetes, not divorce…I switched over to the vegetarian plan of this meal planning service.

Soon to find myself ordering ingredients and produce that in my previous fifty years of existence, I had never tried…and sometimes never heard of.

One of these foods was the jackfruit.



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What is Jackfruit?!

Why was jackfruit one of the first produce items that I had to faimiliarize myself with?!

Hello?!?!?!

Because I am from the Deepest Parts of the Deep South…the heart of the Delta…Mississippi…

And i know that absolutely no one can survive life without some sort of barbecue…

So when I read that the texture of the fruit is like my prized shredded meats…and that is often considered a meat substitute by those on vegetarian and vegan diets,, I had to try it for myself…(it’s actually good…but more on that later though)…





The Tree…Jackfruit, like durian, grow on evergreen trees that flower from December until February or March. The termite-proof wood from the jackfruit tree is commonly used to build furniture, doors, windows, roofs, musical instruments, and houses….many claiming that jackfruit wood is superior to teak for building furniture.

Dye made from the jackfruit trees is what is used to give the robes of Buddhist monks their distinctive light-brown color.



The Fruit…Jackfruit have hard, gummy shells that ripen from an initially yellowish-greenish…to a yellow…to a yellowish-brown color.

Jackfruit is similar to the durian that we talked about in a previous post, but have pimples instead of spikes…so they might not be as able to kill you if one plops out of the tree onto your head…lucky us, right?!

Probably not so lucky, since each fruit can weigh up to eighty pounds…and can reach ten to forty inches in length…and six to twenty inches in diameter.

Jackfruit are in season mainly in July and August.



The Taste and Aroma...Jackfruit has a sweet, fruity taste similar to bananas, pineapples, and pears….kind of a cross between all three. Fully ripe jackfruit have a strong pleasant aroma similar to pineapple and banana.

Actually immature jackfruit has a fairly neutral taste that will “take on” the flavor of whatever sauce or seasoning you pair it with…meaning that its stringy consistency when paired with quality barbecue sauce will even convince the die-hard carnivores in your family try a bite…(trust me, my family actually loves jackfruit barbecue sandwiches).

Jackfruit has always been popular in its native Southeast Asia countries—Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Vietnam…but has become a ‘trend” of sorts among vegans and vegetarians in the past decade…people like me who want to cut out meat, but could never imasgine life without pulled barbecue pork sandwiches.

Making the Perfect Refrigerator Jam — April 5, 2021

Making the Perfect Refrigerator Jam

Ever since I started receiving my weekly subscription box from Imperfect Foods, I have found myself to ending up with fruit that often seems to get overlooked and forgotten.

In an effort to keep food waste down, I have decided to go ahead and prep some of the produce as soon as I receive it…either by slicing, dicing, chopping…freezing into smoothie bags…or doing something even more creative such as making a batch of refrigerator jam.

Refrigerator jam is a fresh, sweet treat that is not only very easy to make and even more delicious to enjoy…but is also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals…with none of the sugars or preservatives typically found in store-bought jams.

The basically fool-proof recipe that I use to make refrigerator jam makes about two cups…and will keep for about a week in the fridge.

As far as flavor, you can use this easy, quick, and versatile recipe as a template for making jam out of any fresh fruit—such as strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, and peach—or frozen fruit or fruit combination….and any kind of spices, herbs, or zests you can imagine.

My goal is to now make one batch of this per weekly subscription box so that I can take advantage of as many of these fruit’s nutritional values and unique tastes as possible….flavor combinations on my radar right now include…blueberry ginger…strawberry basil lemon…raspberry mint…blackberry cinnamon…and peach blueberry.

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INGREDIENTS

  • Fruit…1 lb fresh or frozen fruit
  • Sugar…1C
  • White grape juice…2C
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • Optional…4 tbsp of chia seeds1/2tsp salt…1/2tsp cinnamon…1/2tsp vanilla…pinch of anything else you might stumble upon as you’re cleaning out your spice drawer—such as nutmeg or cardamom

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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wash the fruit. Remove any stems or peels. Chop into large chunks if needed. Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries can all remain whole.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about twenty minutes, or until the juices thicken….stirring frequently to prevent sticking to the bottom.
  5. If you want to add some fresh herbs into your jam, such as basil, mint, or thyme, do it during the last few minutes of the cooking process to retain their bright flavor.
  6. Transfer hot jam into a glass jar. Store in fridge once it has cooled down.

Dippadedooda…Dippadeyay…Here’s How to Eat Chocolate in a Fun Healthy Way — April 4, 2021

Dippadedooda…Dippadeyay…Here’s How to Eat Chocolate in a Fun Healthy Way

Ever since our family has been dealing with the dreaded “d-word”…diabetes, not divorce, in case you’re wondering…I have been trying to find ways to keep my Mississippi sweet tooth satisfied without steering way too far off course.

Even the best fruit can get a little old if you realize that you’re gonna be eating an apple a day…every day…every week…every month…every year…for the rest of your life.

So I have been trying to find ways to make sure that my next weekly produce box from Imperfect Foods is a rewsward, instead of a punishing reminder of just how fat and unhealthy I really am.

One way to keep fruit from becoming just another box that you check off your My Fitness Pal or whatever other food diary that you happen to keep…if you actually do keep one at all…is to keep a dip around to dip your fruits and veggies in…perhaps to disguise the taste a little, right?!

So here I’m gonna share one of my favorite dips—an low-carb, dairy-free, creamy smooth, ultra-impressive, decadently chocolate, ooey-gooey, yummilicious dip that is perfect when paired with all kinds of goodies—any fresh fruit, chocolate-dipped strawberries, angel food cake, apples, marshmallows, dried fruit, nuts—certain to satisfy your chocolate craving–without the guilt.

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Ingredients

Greek Yogurt…1/2C…you can use really any unsweetened Greek yogurt, but the higher the fat content, the creamier your dip will turn out.

Sweeteners…1Tbsp…you can really use whatever sweetener you like–stevia, honey, , sugar, agave syrup

Salt—1/4tsp

Vanilla…1-1/2tsp

Pinch cayenne pepper

Chocolate chips…1-1/4C

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Instructions

Place ingredients in a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 90 seconds. Stir until completely smooth and well-incorporated, and the dip is thickened and entirely smooth.

Who Wants a Golden Ticket, When You Can Have a Golden Berry Instead —

Who Wants a Golden Ticket, When You Can Have a Golden Berry Instead

Golden Berries: Nutrition and Benefits - Ben's Natural Health

Golden berries—also known as Inca berry, Peruvian groundcherry, poha berry, goldenberry, husk cherry and cape gooseberry, aguaymanto, topotopo, and Peruvian groundcherry….(don’t ask me why, why go ask your Mother)…are not actually berries. They belong to the “nightshade” family…the same family as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.

Golden berries are native to the mountainous forests of the Andes—countries such as Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Peru and Chile where the annual average temperature is about 60°F….and has been cultivated there ever since the days of the ancient Incans—as early as 4,000 years ago. Today they are also found in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Golden berries grow on shrubs that are about three feet high with velvety, heart-shaped leaves and bell-shaped flowers that are less than an inch across.Hawaii, Taiwan, California, India, and Great Britain..

The fruit itself is a bright, yellow-orange orb wrapped in a papery husk…similar in appearance to a tomatillo and about the size of a marble…sort of a mini version of a yrllow cherry tomato.

Golden berries have a tart, tangy taste…similar to other tropical fruits—such as the pineapple or mango.

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Nutritional Value

Goldenberries are a low-calorie fruit that contain impressive amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber as shown below, but the primary benefit of golden berries is a high concentration of antioxidants—such as polyphenols and carotenoids—naturally-occuring pigments that give foods such as goldenberries, oranges, pumpkins, and carrots their color.

One cup of golden berries contains…

  • Calories: 74
  • Carbs: 15.7 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Protein: 2.7 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI for women and 17% for men
  • Thiamine: 14% of the RDI for women and 13% for men
  • Riboflavin: 5% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 28% of the RDI for women and 25% for men
  • Vitamin A: 7% of the RDI for women and 6% for men
  • Iron: 8% of the RDI for women and 18% for men
  • Phosphorus: 8% of the RDI

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Health Benefits

Golden berries have many health benefits to offer. Let’s take a look at some of them…

  • Bones…Golden berries are high in vitamin K, a vitamin thar is necessary for healthy bones and cartilage.
  • Cholesterol Levels…Golden berries contain antioxidants and fatty acids—such as linoleic acid and oleic acid—that help lower your cholesterol. levels and establish the cholesterol balance needed to ensure a healthy heart.
  • Diabetes…Eating golden berries can be an effective preventive method and a treatment for Type II diabetes because golden berries contain nutrients that keep you from having high blood sugar levels.
  • Heart…Goldenberries can improve the health of your heart by lowering inflammation of the arteries and blood vessels…as well as blood pressure.
  • Immunity...Golden berries contain significant level of vitamin C…almost 15%DV…that is so important for your immune system.
  • Inflammation…Golden berries contain natural antioxidants and steroids that help calm inflammation caused by such diseases as IBS, arthritis, gout, muscle aches, chronic pain, hemorrhoids, autoimmune diseases, and some neurodegenerative diseases….
  • Liver and Kidney Health...Golden berries can reduce liver scarring and degradation….and also help eliminate toxins by making you pee more and flushing out excess fats, salts, and toxins from the lymphatic system. 
  • Vision…Golden berries contain lutein and beta-carotene that can keep your eyes in top working order as you age and lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, vision loss from diabetes, cataracts and other eye diseases.
  • Weight Loss...Golden berries are a good option for people trying to lose weight because they contain a large percentage of your daily nutrients, but hardly any fats or calories….only 53 calories per half cup.