Have you ever tried jackfruit “meat”?
Artocarpus heterophyllus or jackfruit is a large, round, green fruit that, when cooked unripe, has a meat-like texture. It is rich in vitamins and has more protein than many other fruits. It is considered the largest tree fruit in the world; just one jackfruit can weigh up to 40 kilos (88 pounds). In Costa Rica, jackfruit grows in areas with a warmer climate. Although there are many ways to consume jackfruit, lots of people don’t know about them.
That’s where EARTH University students come in with creativity delivered to your table. As part of the Food Processing course, they participated in the Griffith Challenge, a food innovation contest by Griffith Foods and our University’s Development Office, class of 2022 students Bryan Merlos Osorio (Guatemala), Kaenda Furquim Cardoso (Brazil), Esteban Francisco Orozco Peñaherrera (Ecuador), and Manuel Sánchez Guerra (Colombia) created a hamburger made from jackfruit and green banana flour. They had to meet several parameters such as creating an attractive dish for kids and teens, using green banana flour provided by Griffith Foods, and integrating a common product at the regional level to alleviate a social problem.
They chose jackfruit because it is a fairly common crop in the Costa Rican Caribbean region and can be found in low-income areas where hunger is a daily threat. However, the fruit is often wasted as not many people know how to prepare it.
Under the supervision of chefs, the Griffith Foods technical team all participating teams created a delicious menu full of surprises and unique ideas. The “Jack’s Burger” team won first place in the competition thanks to their inspiration, commitment, and innovation.
Kaenda learned to cook jackfruit from her grandmother in Brazil, where the fruit is popular. However, the recipe she knew resulted in a texture different to that of ground beef, usually used to make hamburger patties. The team began experimenting until they came up with a specific formulation that achieved the desired flavor and ideal texture.
“We found a fruit that weighed 51 pounds. Can you imagine all the people that can be fed with a single jackfruit that big? It is a very beneficial fruit that adapts well to the area, so we think local producers can use this product idea to add value to the crop,” says Bryan.
We thank Griffith Foods for inspiring the spirit of innovation in our students and congratulate the class of 2022 for taking on this challenge!