Green, spiky and with a strong, sweet smell, the bulky jackfruit has morphed from a backyard nuisance in India’s south coast into the meat-substitute darling of vegans and vegetarians in the West. Varghese Tharakkan harvesting a jackfruit at an orchard at his Ayur jackfruit farm in Thrissur in the south Indian state of Kerala. (Photo: AFP/Arun Sankar) Part of South Asia’s diet for centuries, jackfruit was so abundant that tonnes of it went to waste every year. But now India, the world’s biggest producer of jackfruit, is capitalising on its growing popularity as a “superfood” meat alternative — touted by chefs from San Francisco to London and Delhi for its pork-like texture when unripe. “There are a lot of enquiries from abroad… At the international level, the interest in jackfruit has grown manifold,” Varghese Tharakkan tells AFP from his orchard in Kerala’s Thrissur district. The fruit, which weighs five kilogrammes (11 pounds) on average, has a waxy yellow flesh when ripe and is eaten fresh, or used to make cakes, juices, ice creams and crisps. When unripe, it is added to curries or fried, minced and sauted. In the West, shredded jackfruit has become a popular alternative to pulled pork… Read full this story
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