Jackfruit Carnitas with Mangosteen Salsa {Strange Fruit 1 & 2}

Jackfruit Carnitas with Mangosteen Salsa {Strange Fruit 1 & 2}

V & T Supermarket in Hempstead, Long Island is a place I can spend hours in. It is a huge Asian grocery store with long aisles of interesting food items–noodles, sauces, sweets, a frozen section, and… canned goodies. I visited V & T with a clear mission in mind: get some neat looking cans with the following predominant colors: green, yellow, pink, orange, red, and blue. These will be the pencil holders for my classroom tables come back to school. But before I can say “Mangosteens, there is a book left out on your table.” or “Johnny, please collect Jackfruit’s essays on the binary language of moisture vaporaters,” I need to seal and laquer them, preparing them for hopefully many years of 4th grade abuse. And before that–I needed to eat their innards. 

Starting with mangosteen. I accidentally bought 2 cans of these beautiful fruits. Knowing that the texture of this tropical fruit would be a bit mush-like as it has been swimming in sugary syrup since its trip from Thailand, I wanted to make sure I paired it with some other textures. Inspired by a very simple recipe for mangosteen salsa that incorporated all fresh ingredients, as well as ingredients to balance the sweetness, I made a salsa that hit all the right notes: sweet, bitter, and a whole lot of heat from 2 diced jalapeno. The mangosteens are sweet and delicious right out of the can. I saved the sugary syrup for a future popsicle creation. Mangosteen have received some buzz in the health food word. Their rinds (pericaps) contain powerful antioxidants called xanthones, that have been used in traditional medicines for years. But recent buzz here in the States stems from some studies that showed xanthones to have anti-cancer effects. Like other naturally occurring antioxidants with buzz (pomegranate, goji, acai, etc), of course next comes a slew of health products.

Next up, jackfruit. I first had this fibrous yellow wonder in Thailand (see post here); it is a sweet tropical fruit with a very interesting texture. Though sweet, I once had an amazing jackfruit chalupa at (post here) a place called Fud, a very memorable vegan eatery in Kansas City. I wanted to try to make a savory dish with my can of jackfruit. With guidance from Clean Green Simple‘s beautiful blog, I began by soaking my jackfruit in water to shrug off that sugary syrup.

It took some time to cook up the jackfruit. What goes in bright yellow… 

eventually becomes a fibrous brown, resembling pulled meat. Truly fascinating. And very delicious.

Behold! My jackfruit carnitas! Topped with the mangosteen salsa and some fresh tomato and avocado… and paired with grilled, local corn. What a delicious meal. I nibbled on so much of the jackfruit while it cooked that I could barely finish. 

Hard to believe such a gorgeous meal started in a can.

Next up in my can project, I am thinking mangosteen and lychee popsicles. Stay tuned…
xo, V.V.

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