All about jackfruit, sprouted grain bread
If you don’t know jack (jackfruit, that is) or sprouted grains, it’s time you did.
Jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world. A single jackfruit averages 35 inches long, 20 inches in diameter, and can weigh more than 100 pounds!
Jackfruit is a native of southwest India but is cultivated around the tropical regions of the world. It’s the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine.
The versatile jackfruit is increasingly popular in the plant-based movement and is able to be enjoyed both as a sweet fruit and as a savory vegetable and meat substitute, making it easy to indulge in this culinary and nutrient powerhouse.
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is part of the mulberry family, along with fig and breadfruit trees. Its greenish-yellow skin is covered in cone-shaped spikes, protecting an inner flesh of bright yellow edible bulbs, a pithy core, and lots of one-inch edible brown seeds.
Depending on variety and ripeness, the flesh may be crunchy, firm or very soft, with a tropical flavor similar to banana and pineapple.
In nutrient density, jackfruit lives up to its size: a one-cup serving is packed with 18 percent DV (DV=Daily Value, based on 2,000 calories/day) of antioxidant vitamin C, 16 percent of anti-inflammatory manganese, and 11 percent DV of satiating dietary fiber.
Jackfruit is plump with carotenoids — powerful plant compounds that give jackfruit its deep yellow hue as well as boosting its disease-preventing activity. Beta-carotene and lutein are part of an impressive 18 total carotenoids in jackfruit (Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 2009).
Another category of plant compound in jackfruit’s armory is flavonoids, associated with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. They also may play a role in fighting against Type 2 diabetes complications, including blindness from retinopathy and death from cardiovascular disease (Nutrients, 2016).
The finer points
Fresh jackfruit is available in the summer and fall, but it can also be bought canned and dried. Slice whole jackfruit in half lengthwise and cut from the stem horizontally, like a melon. Remove the bulbs and seeds. Bulbs may be eaten fresh, frozen or cooked. [Ed. Note: Canned jackfruit is available at Trader Joe’s.]
Young jackfruit has a subtle flavor and is often shredded and used as a meat substitute, especially in curries. It is also roasted and eaten as a vegetable. Try it with barbecue sauce; it mimics a pulled-pork sandwich.
Ripe jackfruit adds tropical flair to salads and desserts like custards and ice cream. Refrigerate a few days or freeze, as jackfruit doesn’t keep well.
Topic 2: What is a sprouted grain?
A sprouted grain has been soaked until it reaches germination, a process which enriches the grain by increasing nutrient levels and may also aid in ease of digestion when it is eaten.
So, what is sprouted grain bread? Sprouted grain breads are giving both bread-avoiders and bread-lovers something to cheer about. This type of bread, made from a variety of sprouted whole grains (including wheat, millet, barley and spelt) and legumes (like soybeans and lentils) is packed with vitamins (including antioxidant vitamins C, E and beta carotene), minerals, protein and fiber.
The high amounts of protein and fiber can help increase feelings of fullness and sustain energy levels longer than foods that are not good sources of these nutrients.
In addition, sprouted grain breads tend to be popular also for what’s missing — they do not contain added sugar, preservatives or artificial ingredients.
One brand of sprouted grain bread, Ezekiel 4:9 (made by Food for Life), contains the following ingredients:
—Organic sprouted wheat
—Organic sprouted barley
—Organic sprouted millet
—Organic malted barley
—Organic sprouted lentils
—Organic sprouted soybeans
—Organic sprouted spelt
—Organic wheat gluten
It is important to note that although sprouted grain bread contains an abundance of natural and health-promoting ingredients, is it not gluten-free. In fact, this is a common misconception.
In reality, sprouting of grains can reduce gluten levels somewhat, but it does not eliminate them altogether. People suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance should avoid sprouted grain breads unless they can find a confirmed gluten-free product or recipe.
Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC, EnvironmentalNutrition.com.
© 2019 Belvoir Media Group. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.