A jack of all tradesEthical Food & Drink News & Features
This article first appeared in our spring ’19 issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, The Organic Revolution, distributed with the Guardian on 31 May 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Jackfruit, a vegan meat alternative, has been taking the cookery world by storm. The beauty of jackfruit is that it works wonderfully well in so many recipes. When it cooks it is terrific at soaking up flavour and takes on similar characteristics to pulled pork, so it pairs really nicely with pasta bakes, wraps, tacos, burritos and buns.
All you need to do by way of preparation is drain and rinse the jackfruit, tear it into chunks and cook in a flavour-packed sauce. Free from dairy, gluten, wheat, palm oil and artificial ingredients, it’s a versatile vegan staple – a true jack of all trades.
What is jackfruit?
Originating in south-west India, Jackfruit is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family. When mature the huge trees can produce about 100 to 200 whopping oblong fruits in a year; they have a bumpy green exterior and can be eaten in both their ripe and unripe states. On the inside, jackfruit is full of plump, pale yellow petals.
Jackfruit has a high fibre content so it can help you to maintain a healthy digestive system. The seeds are nutritious and can be cooked, eaten on their own or ground into flour. Nothing is wasted because the leaves can be used for wrapping and steaming food.
Grown by trusted friends
Suma’s new Organic Jackfruit is young, tender and ethically sourced from a co-operative of organic growers in Sri Lanka. It’s the same co-operative that grows Suma’s coconut products, so the farmers have become trusted friends who source products in a transparent way, respecting the people who produce them and the places they are grown.
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‘As awareness of climate change and food provenance continue to grow, the demand for organic food is likely to keep on climbing, too. We’ve always done a wide range of organics, and that’s truer now than ever. The bulk of our new products – like jackfruit and apple cider vinegar – are organic, reflecting the fact that we know people want their food to have fewer chemicals and be more in harmony with nature.’
Co-operative member at Suma
The farmers do great things, such as guaranteeing good working conditions and rates of pay for staff and farmers, paying a fair price for their crops and operating in accordance with sustainable growing standards.
‘Jackfruit is a versatile part of a vegan diet, with a great texture and the ability to absorb the flavours of whatever it’s cooked in. It continues to rise in popularity’, says Giles Simon, co-operative member at Suma. ‘We’ve wanted to sell our own for some time, and have been waiting to find a supplier that fits our criteria.
Our jackfruit is organic, grown by a co-operative of farmers in Sri Lanka, canned in Sri Lanka and the tins are then packed in card rather than plastic, reducing the environmental impact.’