About Breadfruit

Breadfruit

(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.

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