Health food crazes are a dime-a-dozen these days. From replacing all your meat with tofu, to adding artificial sweeteners so you can literally have your cake and eat it too, people are constantly looking for the next big thing that tastes great while still being healthy. Oftentimes, the best health foods are the ones that don't cut any corners. That means incorporating real fruits, veggies, and whole grains into your diet and feeling the difference.
While we typically try to avoid getting swept up in crazes, there's one that has gained a lot of popularity recently that we couldn't help but investigate. It's called jackfruit, and people are claiming that it could be the key to solving one country's starvation. Also, it just so happens to look like something from an alien planet. And, despite being a fruit, it looks and tastes like pulled pork when you cook it. Sounds too good (and a little too weird) to be true, right? Well ... what if it isn't?
Jackfruit, despite its recent burst in popularity, is nothing new. The name "jackfruit" was first put down in writing in the 1500s, but evidence of its existence and consumption dates back as early as the 1400s. So, if jackfruit has been around all this time, why is it just now getting popular in the United States? Check out the images below to learn all about this strange fruit that could very well help feed millions of people around the world.
This is jackfruit. It's big, prickly, and full of delicious nutrients.
While it doesn't grow in the United States, plenty of street vendors and farmer's markets still offer the meaty fruit to their customers. Jackfruit costs around $2.50 per pound, so people prefer buying a pound or two, instead of the entire thing. Jackfruits tend to weigh around 10 to 15 pounds, but they've been known to grow as large as 100 pounds.
Each jackfruit is full of edible "bulbs," each one with its own seed. The fruit is incredibly high in Vitamin C and the seeds boast high levels of potassium, calcium, and iron.
Jackfruit isn't just farmed - it grows in the wild in many countries around the world. In fact, it's the national fruit of Bangladesh!
Here's an illustration of jackfruit dating all the way back to 1656:
One of the biggest reasons jackfruits are so appealing is their versatility. A single jackfruit tree has all kinds of uses - its leaves make good food for farm animals, its bright bark can be used to dye clothes, and its wood makes strong timber.
Not to mention its fruit can be used in a myriad of delectable recipes.
Uncooked, its fruit looks like bright orange peppers or garlic cloves, but, after you simmer it in spices, it transforms into something totally different.
Like these "pulled pork" tacos ...
... Or this savory pile of "barbecue." If I didn't know any better, I'd think that was a plate of meat. Instead, it's a vegan feast fit for a king!
So, how could jackfruit help save millions from starvation?
Many Asian countries recognize jackfruit's amazing potential, but India is still struggling to incorporate it into their national diet. To Indians, the jackfruit has always been the poor man's food, growing all around them their entire lives. It'd be the equivalent of someone telling me that pinecones are what's been missing from my diet. Even if I did believe them, I wouldn't want to pay for one.
Unfortunately, jackfruit goes bad if it isn't used or properly stored within a couple of weeks, resulting in pounds of perfectly healthy fruit going to waste every day.
Still, many people are rooting for the jackfruit to make a comeback in India, a country where nearly 78 million people find themselves living in slums. Incorporating a veritable Swiss Army Knife like jackfruit into India's economy could provide relief to those suffering from starvation and substandard living conditions.
So, even if you don't live in India, you can still help change the world's perception of jackfruit by spreading the word and taking advantage of its wonderful health benefits.
Don't forget to SHARE this incredible fruit with your friends and family!
H/T: Tech Insider