Gac Fruit: A Powerhouse of Nutrients and a Versatile Culinary Ingredient

Unlocking the secrets of this lesser know tropical fruit from Southeast Asia

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By Alex

gac fruit

The Gac fruit, scientifically known as Momordica cochinchinensis, hails from South and Southeast Asia, and is especially popular in Vietnam. This tropical and subtropical vine stands out with its vibrant orange-red color and spiky outer shell. It’s sometimes referred to as “baby jackfruit” because of its spiky outer appearance, which is similar to that of a jackfruit, although it is much smaller.

Let’s discover the sweet secrets of this lesser know tropical fruit.

Gac Fruit Nutritional Profile

Gac fruit is highly valued for its nutritional benefits, including high levels of antioxidants, beta-carotene, and lycopene, which are much higher than in tomatoes and carrots.

Here is the approximate nutritional content of 100 grams of this exotic fruit:

  • Calories: Approximately 60 kcal
  • Protein: Around 2 grams – Fat: Less than 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 14 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: About 5 grams
  • Vitamin A: Over 40,000 IU
  • Vitamin C: Around 6 milligrams
  • Calcium: Approximately 15 milligrams
  • Iron: About 1 milligram
Gac fruit
Renowned for its nutritional richness, Gac fruit is a powerhouse of antioxidants such as lycopene and beta-carotene.

Its distinctive appearance, featuring bright orange-red skin and seeds encased in a red aril, not only catches the eye but also offers numerous health benefits.

Health Benefits of Gac Fruit

Beyond its traditional use in Asian cuisine to enhance both color and nutrition, this fruit boasts a spectrum of advantages.

Packed with carotenoids like lycopene and beta-carotene, Gac fruit consumption has been associated with a decreased risk of stroke, heart attack, and various types of cancer, including lung and colon cancer. Moreover, these carotenoids promote eye health by lowering the likelihood of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Additionally, it is a rich source of carbohydrates and micronutrients vital for brain function, nervous system health, as well as skin and muscle function. Gac fruit juice offers the same array of benefits as the fruit itself.

Despite its slightly heavy and bland flavor profile, which lacks strong fruity notes, it remains a unique and valuable addition to a balanced diet.

gac fruit
This nutrient-dense fruit can transform your meals and boost your well-being.

Culinary Uses of Gac Fruit

Gac fruit is a versatile ingredient in culinary practices across Southeast Asia. Its vibrant color and unique flavor make it a popular addition to various dishes.

Here are three recipes that showcase the versatility of this exotic fruit in both sweet and savory dishes, highlighting its vibrant color and unique flavor.

Gac Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup diced Gac fruit (seeds removed)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup coconut water or almond milk
  • Toppings: granola, sliced fruits, chia seeds, shredded coconut

Instructions:

  • In a blender, combine banana, Gac fruit, frozen berries, Greek yogurt, and coconut water/almond milk.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour the smoothie into a bowl.
  • Top with granola, sliced fruits, chia seeds, and shredded coconut.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Gac Fruit Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced Gac fruit (seeds removed)
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, combine diced Gac fruit, mango, pineapple, and shredded coconut.
  • Drizzle honey or maple syrup and lime juice over the fruit mixture.
  • Gently toss to coat evenly.
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Serve chilled and enjoy this refreshing salad!

Gac Fruit Sticky Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup diced Gac fruit (seeds removed)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Banana leaves (for serving)

Instructions:

  • Rinse the glutinous rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well.
  • In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the glutinous rice to the coconut milk mixture. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
  • Stir in the diced Gac fruit.
  • Cut banana leaves into rectangles and place a portion of the sticky rice mixture onto each leaf.
  • Fold the banana leaves over the rice to form packets.
  • Steam the packets for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve warm and enjoy the delightful flavors of this fruit sticky rice!

But this is just one of the many recipes that can be prepared with this fruit. In fact, especially in Vietnamese cuisine, there are many more recipes that make use of the flavor of this tropical fruit with remarkable properties.

More on Exotic Fruits

Discover the unique properties of these other tropical fruits: