Family – Moraceae
Genus - Artocarpus
Latin name – Artocarpus altilis
Origins of Breadfruit ~
If you are not familiar with breadfruit and you enjoy the smell, taste and texture of freshly baked bread then you are sure to enjoy this unusual but extremely versatile and popular fruit.
The breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is an important food source to many cultures and has been so since it was discovered over 3,000 years ago.
The species was first discovered in the South Pacific where it quickly spread throughout Oceania by travelers settling in these vast numbers of islands in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia.
A relation of the Breadnut and Jackfruit, it was thanks to the famous Captain William Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty) and some French travelers that a number of seedless varieties of breadfruit ended up in the Caribbean in the 1700s and from there ended up in many tropical regions.
Today the breadfruit is cultivated in over 85 countries with over 2,000 varieties of cultivars available.
Southeast Asia, India, Indonesia, The Seychelles, Samoa Islands, Hawaii, South Florida, Central and South America are some of the locations where you will find these trees growing in abundance.
Baby Breadfruit to Fully Mature TreeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Breadfruit Tree ~
These evergreen beauties may grow to a height of 85 ft (26 m) and have a dense wide canopy of leaves. The trees begin bearing fruit between 3-5 years old and require very little attention or care.
The breadfruit thrives in a wide variety of ecological conditions and is commonly found growing in home gardens or small farms intermixed with cash crops, subsistence crops or other beneficial plants.
More benefits to growing breadfruit trees, particularly in the Pacific and the high islands of Micronesia, are they form a vital part in traditional agro forestry systems.
Having a permanent display of leaves provides shade, mulch and a microclimate while they protect watersheds and replace field crops.
The spreading leaves are thick and large which have deep cuts of 1-6 lobes. Breadfruit grows best in the lower lying lands below 2,130 ft (650 m), unlike the Cherimoya Tree which thrives at the slightly higher levels.
Common names for breadfruit around the world ~
English - breadfruit
French – fruit a pain & arbre a pain
German - brotfruchbaum
Spanish - fruta de pan, pan, arbol de pan & panapen
Italian – albero del pane
Portuguese – fruta pao & pao de massa
Dutch – broodvrucht & broodboom
Caribbean – cow, pain bois, panbwa, frutapan & fruta de pan
Philippines – rimas
Papa New Guinea - kapaik
Sri Lanka – rata del
Malaysia, Indonesia – sukun
Tanzania – shelisheli
Guam, Mariana Islands – lemai & lemae
Hawaii, Samoa, Rotuma & Tuvalu – ‘ulu
Society Islands – ‘urlu
Cook Islands - kuru
The Fruit ~
The fruit is large and oblong or round weighing between ½ -13 lbs (0.2-6 kg). The skin varies in textures between smooth, rough and spiny.
It may be light green, yellowish-green or yellow when fully mature apart from one variety, “Afara”, in French Polynesia, which is pink or orange-brown.
The flesh varies between cream and light yellow and in fully ripe fruit will appear more yellow to yellow-brown. When fully ripe the flesh is sweet, soft and creamy which may be eaten raw or cooked.
The fruit will either be seedless or have a small or large amount of dark brown seeds, depending on the variety. Breadfruit seeds are round or oblong and compressed looking.
Yields vary considerably within the varieties of fruit.
50 – 200 fruits per tree per year is a guide and some trees have been known to produce 800 fruits per year. On average 100 – 200 fruits per year is normal.
With its limited shelf life breadfruit is usually limited to where it grows in the tropical regions.
Ethnic markets in Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Europe may well have breadfruit available particularly in neighborhoods with a strong Caribbean or Pacific island culture.
Nutritional Benefits ~
It is an important staple food in much of the Pacific region, parts of The Caribbean and other tropical regions of the world.
As it is a starchy food it compares well to potatoes, plantain, rice, taro, sweet potato and cassava. Carbohydrates are the main energy source.
The fruit is a good source of fibre, potassium, magnesium and calcium with smaller amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, iron and niacin.
A few varieties contain folic acid and the yellow flesh varieties contain provitamin A carotenoids.
The seeds of the fruit are edible and may be roasted, boiled or ground into meal. They have the taste and texture of a chestnut and are a good source of protein and minerals.
Breadfruit Trees are Useful
Breadfruit Tree Uses ~
- The uses of this amazing fruit tree reads nearly as extensive as uses of a coconut do.
- The trees give shelter and provide food to seed dispersers and pollinators including insects, birds, honeybees and fruit bats.
- The trunk of cherimoya trees grow to a width of 6.5 ft (2 m) and a height of 13 ft (4 m) before branching occurs. The wood is light in color, durable and termite free. The wood is used as a housing material, to build canoes, furniture, handicrafts, bowls and statues.
- Older trees are a heat source providing firewood particularly in the Atoll Islands.
- Glue, caulk and chewing gum are made from sticky white latex which is present in all parts of the cherimoya tree.
- The inner bark is commonly made into cordage or bark fabric.
- The male flowers are dried and burned to ward off mosquitoes and flying insects.
- Leaves are used to wrap food that is cooked in traditional earth ovens, as disposable plates and as fans.
- The bark, leaves and latex are used for their medicinal properties.
Traditional roasting of breadfruit in Tahiti
Medicinal Uses ~
- Latex is massaged into the skin to treat sprains, broken bones and is bandaged on the back to relieve sciatica.
- Diluted latex is taken internally to cure dysentery, diarrhea and stomach aches.
- Crushed leaves are commonly used to treat skin conditions and fungal conditions including thrush.
- Sap from a crushed leaf stem is used to treat ear infections and irritated eyes.
- In several islands, the bark is used to treat headaches.
- The root of cherimoya trees is used in a poultice for treating skin conditions.
- In the West Indies a yellowing leaf is brewed into a tea and used for lowering high blood pressure, relieving asthma and is thought to control diabetes.
A Healthy Lunch Hawaiian Style
Fish & Chips
Eating Breadfruit ~
Although it may be eaten at different stages of maturity, the fruit is best eaten fully developed.
It is a tasty alternative to pasta, potatoes, rice or any starchy root crop.
Traditionally it may be boiled, steamed, fried or roasted when mature and younger fruits are pickled, boiled or marinated.
Depending on the local traditions and dishes, breadfruit is eaten sliced, cubed, mashed or pureed in sweet or savory dishes, baby food and cereal.
In other words, it is totally versatile!
Even the flowers are edible and are often made into sweets.
Have you eaten breadfruit?
World of Breadfruit Recipes ~
- Samoan Cooking: Fa'alifu Ulu... Cooked Breadfruit in Coconut Milk :)
Samoan Fa'alifu Ulu - Cooked Breadfruit in Coconut Milk.
- CaribbeanPot.com | Tag Archive | breadfruit recipe
Caribbean Breadfruit Pie (savory).
- Breadfruit Recipes - Indian Breadfruit Recipes
Collection of Breadfruit recipes from India with recipe videos, images and tips. Find out key information about Breadfruit calories and nutrition.
- National Tropical Botanical Garden - Tropical Plant Research, Education, and Conservation.
National Tropical Botanical Garden is dedicated to preserving tropical plant diversity and stemming this tide of extinction - through plant exploration, propagation, habitat restoration, scientific research, and education. Over 100 delicious recipes.
Author Info ~
Information on the author, her bio and full body of works available @ Suzie HQ
Credit to homesteadbound ~
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