I’ve enjoyed the intensely sweet, slightly stinky taste of ripened jackfruit for decades, as it’s a popular fruit (which sort of looks like a rough, armored watermelon with spikes) in Asian cuisine. If you’ve never had the sweet version of the fruit before, it tastes like a cross between a very ripe mango and a pineapple, but slightly stinkier. Some people compare its flavor to Juicy Fruit gum. And if you are familiar with durian, it’s like a much less pungent version of that fragrant fruit.
But recently, the unripened version of the fruit, green jackfruit (sometimes called young jackfruit), has been touted as a miracle food that might replace meat in some instances. Intrigued, I had to give it a try. So I popped into Trader Joes (one of my regular grocery stops) to buy a 20-ounce can of “green jackfruit in brine” for $2. When I opened the can, I was greeted by triangular pieces of fleshy fruit fiber that looked a bit like pineapple wedges.