Yes, you can freeze jackfruit! It is a powerhouse of nutrition, containing Vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, potassium, fiber and calcium.
Jackfruit is a Southeast Asian fruit, popular in Thailand. It originates in southern Indian regions of the Western Ghats and the Malaysian rainforests. It is in the same family as figs, mulberries and breadfruit.
It has also gained popularity in recent years among the vegan community as a meat replacement. It is commonly used as a substitute for pulled pork due to the similar texture when shredded.
In the US, you may be more accustomed to seeing canned jackfruit rather than fresh. The whole fruit is huge and has a hard, spiky shell on the exterior. They can grow up to a meter long, but usually are around 30cm.
If refrigerated correctly, jackfruit can last around a week. If you store jackfruit correctly in the freezer, you can keep it indefinitely. We recommend consuming within 2 months for best results.
How to freeze jackfruit
If you have ample space in your freezer, and a whole jackfruit, we recommend freezing it as it is. The hard rind will protect the fruit from freezer damage more effectively than any container.
If you don’t have space for this, we recommend cutting the jackfruit up. As the fruit is cut, it excretes a sticky, latex-based substance called sap. For this reason, it is advised to cover your countertop with newspaper to avoid a long cleanup.
Cover your knife with a thin layer of oil to prevent the sap from sticking. We also advise wearing gloves to protect your hands.
If you have removed some of the rind and have exposed individual fruit pods you can freeze this too. Simply cover all of the exposed surface of the fruit with plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing in the freezer. Ensure it is fully covered to prevent freezer burn forming.
If you have fully removed the pods, we recommend flash freezing. Lay the individual arils on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Ensure they do not touch, so they don’t freeze and fuse into one lump. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours to freeze solid.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and place the arils inside an airtight container. Try to keep them in a single layer to prevent them from sticking. Close the lid, label and place in the freezer to store. You can also use ziplock freezer bags to do this, but ensure you have squashed all of the air out of the bag before placing in the freezer.
If you only have access to canned jackfruit, never freeze in the metal can. Find a rigid, freezer-safe, airtight container and empty the contents of the can into it.
Leave an inch of space at the top of the container. This will allow the jackfruit and liquid space to expand into during freezing, preventing the container from breaking. Ensure you label the container with the date and contents so you can find it easily in the future.
You can even freeze prepared jackfruit such as pulled BBQ jackfruit. Cook as normal and allow to cool. Place into a rigid container with an inch of space at the top. Label and place in the freezer.
You can freeze jackfruit seeds too. Peel the jackfruit seeds and transfer to a labeled freezer-safe container. We recommend storing the seeds in individual portion sizes to make thawing and using easier.
How to defrost jackfruit
Defrosting jackfruit is remarkably easy. Transfer the container of jackfruit to the refrigerator for a few hours before you need to use.
You can thaw jackfruit in the microwave on the defrost setting. This works better for green jackfruit intended for cooking as it does not matter if it heats up slightly too much. Ripe jackfruit intended for eating straight often does not hold up well to microwaving.
Jackfruit can be defrosted in a pan if you are going to cook it. Allow to thaw slightly then continue to cook as per your recipe.
Factors to consider before freezing jackfruit
Freezing jackfruit will change the texture slightly, and it will not be as chewy once thawed.
Ensure your jackfruit is ripe prior to freezing. You will know this as the fruit will have a little give when you press on the exterior.
When you pull jackfruit halves apart, you will see a non-edible white core and large yellow fruit pods. These are known as arils and are held in place with tendons known as rags.
There is a seed in the center of the fruit pod. You can eat the fruit pods and seeds. Some people will even boil the rags and eat them like a vegetable.
Jackfruit seeds are covered in an inedible white shell which you should remove before freezing. Boil for 20 minutes then rub the shell off. Alternatively, you can score the outer shell and peel off this way.
You can buy fresh or canned jackfruit and both can be frozen. Canned can either come unripe and or ripe. Unripe jackfruit is also called ‘green’ and is often canned in brine to be used in savory dishes.
Ripe jackfruit is much more yellow in color and is often canned in a light syrup. Ripe jackfruit is intended for desserts and snacking.
Do not refreeze frozen jackfruit once thawed.
Jackfruit is the biggest fruit that comes from a tree in the world and can weigh between 10 and 100 pounds.
It has gained a lot of popularity in recent years due to the emergence of jackfruit as a BBQ pulled pork substitute. It is often quite expensive and hard to find, so when you get your hands on some you will not want to let any go to waste.
If you follow our tips correctly, you can easily and safely store leftover jackfruit for future use within 2 months. These tips can be used for fresh or canned jackfruit.