Both fresh and canned jackfruit have their unique qualities and can be enjoyed in various dishes, from sweet desserts to savory meals. This article details the distinctions between fresh and canned jackfruit. Here are the main differences:
1. Taste & Sweetness:
- Fresh Jackfruit: It is much sweeter when ripe and has a flavor profile that has been likened to a mix of mango, apple, and banana.
- Canned Jackfruit: Its taste depends on how it’s preserved. If it’s packed in brine or water, it’s less sweet than fresh jackfruit. If it’s packed in syrup, it can be sweet, resembling the taste of fresh jackfruit.
2. Ripeness & Texture:
- Fresh Jackfruit: Generally, the fresh variety you find in markets is ripe, firm, and has a stringy texture.
- Canned Jackfruit: Typically, canned jackfruit is green and unripe. Its texture is softer and can even have a meat-like consistency. When packed in brine, it can taste salty, hence it’s recommended to rinse it to decrease the sodium levels.
3. Preparation & Consumption:
- Fresh Jackfruit: It’s a large fruit, often weighing up to 40 pounds and measuring close to 2 feet in length. Consuming it requires cutting the fruit open, extracting the pods, and removing the seeds (which can also be eaten but need cooking and peeling first). Ripe fresh jackfruit is usually eaten raw and can be a part of fruit salads or used as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.
- Canned Jackfruit: Due to its milder flavor, it is usually cooked to absorb other flavors from recipes. This versatility makes it suitable for a variety of dishes, such as barbeque-based dishes as a replacement for meat, vegetable curry, or vegan alternatives for traditional meat dishes like carnitas.
- Fresh Jackfruit: It might be harder to find. However, they can be spotted in Asian markets and specialty stores.
- Canned Jackfruit: More widely available and is more commonly used in recipes.
The rising popularity of jackfruit is largely due to its ability to mimic meat in vegan and vegetarian dishes, as well as its unique and pleasant taste when ripe. Whether consumed fresh or canned, this versatile fruit offers an array of culinary possibilities.