Breadfruit Offers Bountiful Goodness That Tastes Delicious
Breadfruit is a popular Malayan favorite that can be baked, roasted, or fried. It’s name is justified, since it actually tastes like bread and can be a worthy substitute for starchy ingredients like rice or potatoes. Read on to discover more about this unusual fruit’s bountiful goodness.
What is it?
Breadfruit is a flowering tree related to the mulberry family. A single tree sometimes produces more than 200 pieces per season, making it one of the highest-yielding food plants in the world. South Pacific trees yield only 50 to 150 fruits per year, but in southern India, the normal annual production is closer to 150 or 200 fruits.
Polynesian ancestors first found these trees growing in northwest New Guinea around 3,500 years ago. The discovery led these people to give up rice cultivation they had carried over from ancient Taiwan to raise breadfruit as they migrated to several areas close to the Pacific Ocean. Soon after, breadfruit spread north and west Southeast Asia.
Sir Joseph Banks and his contemporaries saw the value of breadfruit as a productive food source beginning in 1769. As President of The Royal Society, Banks offered fame and fortune to anyone who could successfully cultivate a breadfruit crop in Britain. William Bligh was appointed to the task of explorer for this purpose, and his second expedition to the area was as success. Bligh eventually returned with hundreds of live breadfruit plants as proof.
Breadfruit is rich in fiber, and offers a number of nutritional benefits. The fiber helps control diabetes and lower bad cholesterol levels, which decreases the risk for heart attacks in humans. Consuming 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber per day is the current recommendation for adults, which is equivalent to only two cups of boiled breadfruit. As an alternative to white rice in meals, breadfruit easily boosts your dietary fiber intake with just a little imagination. Breadfruit also provides other important nutrients like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, phosphorus, and iron.
In Samoa, wood from the breadfruit tree is one of the most valuable timbers used for constructing traditional houses and furniture. The wood is soft but strong, pliable, and most importantly, termite resistant. This lightweight wood is also perfect for making surfboards and traditional Hawaiian drums.
How to eat
Breadfruit can either be cooked or processed into a variety of other foods. One common preparation uses fermented breadfruit, combines it with coconut milk, then bakes it in banana leaves. The end result is similar in texture and taste to rice pudding. Whole breadfruits can be cooked on an open flame, then cored and filled with other fruits, cooked meats, or some coconut milk, sugar and butter for a tasty meal. Filled breadfruits can also be cooked further to allow the flavor of the filling to permeate the breadfruit’s flesh.
If you haven’t tried breadfruit yet, you should. The delightful taste of this amazing fruit is both flavorful and filling.