(Artocarpus communis) Notable for its
size and knobbly skin which starts out green and ripens to browny-yellow,
this prolific fruit native to the Pacific islands and South East Asia
was aptly names. Its main nutritional constituent is starch. The tree
can be up to 20 m tall given the right conditions. The leaves with their
distinctive fingerlike splits, range from 30 cm to 100 cm in length.
Ideal for wrapping food to be baked in
underground ovens in the Pacific islands. The fruits weigh from 1-5 kg.
In its unripe state it is prepared like yam or potato and eaten roasted,
boiled or fried as a staple food. In Sri Lanka, the common
practice is to slice off the skin and cut the fruit into large wedges
which are boiled with salt and turmeric so it is yellow and lightly
spiced, giving it more flavor than its Pacific counterpart, its simple
accompaniments being a sambal of ground chilies and onions. Fresh grated
coconut may be served alongside to subdue the heat of the sambal.
Thin, crisp breadfruit chips, fried until
deep golden, are much tastier than potato chips. Vegetarians use the
fruit as others would use meat, cooking it with spices and rich coconut
milk. Breadfruit could also be presented on a fruit platter as a ripe
fruit. Sweet and custardy in texture with a strong, sweet smell, it was
a total surprise - in Asia it is strictly a savory food.
In the Pacific islands, the ripe fruit is
cooked with coconut milk and sugar and served as a dessert. In Papua New
Guinea the ripe fruit is eaten raw or baked and the unripe fruit is
boiled like potatoes and served as starch food. The seeds of mature
breadfruit are roasted over coals and eaten like roasted chestnuts. In
the highlands of Papua New Guinea, people eat the seeds and throw the
rest of the fruit away. In Polynesia, breadfruit is fermented in large
pits lined with leaves and preserved for several years.