From the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
South Pacific Commission Leaflet 9, 1983


Seasons in Australia are opposite to those in the US. Summer is Dec. Jan. Feb. Autumn is Mar. Apr. May. Winter is June July Aug. Spring is Sept. Oct. Nov.

Breadfruit


Artocarpus altilis
Moraceae

A Tree Requiring Little Care

The breadfruit tree grows to 8 to 8 metres (30 to 60 feet) and begins bearing fruit after about six years. Breadfruit leaves are large, leathery, and over 30 cm (1 foot) long.

Many varieties of breadfruit grow in the Pacific. Leaves differ in shape and fruits differ in shape, size and time of ripening. Most varieties bear fruit in the wet season, but some bear fruit at other times. Breadfruit trees grow in a variety of soils, and fruit well on atolls. Varieties have adapted to different climates, but high winds or little rainfall can cause loss of leaves and may even cause them to die.

Planting seeds from full-ripe fruits in well-drained soil is one way to grow breadfruit trees. Another way is to plant young shoots or suckers. Young breadfruit trees need protection from hot sun. Later they grow best in full sunlight. Older trees require little care except on atolls where they must sometimes be watered and manured with compost.

Energy and Fiber

Breadfruit is an energy food. Starch and sugar make breadfruit high in energy which the body needs for warmth, work and play. Breadfruit is a fair source of Vitamin C. This vitamin keeps the body tissues strong, helps the body to use iron, and aids in chemical actions in the body. Breadfruit is rich in fibre, which is needed to make the intestines and bowels work properly. People who eat foods rich in fibre are less likely to be too fat or obese. Obesity can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

Polished white rice provides some energy and protein, but fewer vitamins and minerals than breadfruit. Rice should not be eaten alone, but should be mixed with vegetables and meat or fish. Breadfruit should not be eaten alone either. Eating it with fish, meat, or other protein foods provides the nutrients necessary for a healthy and active body.

Breadfruit seeds are a fair source of protein, which the body needs to grow and stay healthy. Vitamin B1 (thiamin), which is plentiful in the seeds, helps the body to convert carbohydrates into energy and heat. Breadfruit leaves are good sources of Vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Iron helps keep blood healthy and calcium helps to make strong bones and teeth.

Breadfruit is used when it is mature, that is, when the while milky sap comes to the surface and runs over the outside. The fruit is still hard and green. If the breadfruit is allowed to ripen, some of the starch in it turns to sugar. It has a sweet flavour and should be used when it is soft, but not rotten. Breadfruit seeds, leaves, and blossoms are also eaten. The seeds have a pleasant nutty flavour. Only very young leaves may be eaten. If the blossoms are picked when just ripe, before they are brown and hard, they may be eaten also.

Preparation

Traditional methods of preparing breadfruit include baking in ground ovens or roasting over hot coals. It may be fermented by burying it in layers between leaves. The fermented breadfruit is removed from the pit, mixed with coconut cream, and baked into a sour bread. Today it can be prepared by traditional methods, or baked, steamed, or fried. The fruit is pricked with a fork before baking or roasting it, so that it does not explode. Bake it in a moderate oven (180°C or 350°F) until soft, about 1½ hours. When steaming or boiling breadfruit, peel it first. Mature grated breadfruit may be used instead of wheat flour in some recipes. Fried breadfruit slices are prepared using roasted or boiled mature breadfruit. Core and slice it to the desired size. Fry in hot oil until golden brown and serve warm.

Young leaves are softened over a fire. Remove the stalks, wash the leaves, and cook covered in a small amount of salted water for about 20 minutes. Serve with coconut cream if desired.

Prepare breadfruit seeds by washing and then dropping them into salted boiling water. Cook covered for 45 minutes. Drain and serve hot. They can also be used as nuts when baking.

Preservation

When storing breadfruit for a short period of time, keep it in a cool and dark place until needed. If it is to be stored overnight, place the whole breadfruit under water. Breadfruit not eaten during breadfruit season is preserved by drying, burying, or freezing. This enables these delicious products to be used at any time of the year and in emergencies. Using preserved breadfruit saves money.

Drying is done by the sun or in a very slow oven (50°C or 120°F). Wash mature breadfruit and cut it into pieces. Peel and core it. Slice very thinly, place on racks and put in the sun to dry. When well dried, wrap in plastic bags or leaves so as to keep out moisture. Dried breadfruit is an excellent addition to soups and stews. Another way of drying breadfruit is to cook it first and then mash it into paste. Dry the paste in the sun and store in airtight containers.

Breadfruit flour is made from dried breadfruit, by pounding or by grinding if a grinder is available. Sift and repeat the process until all of the flour is sifted. Store the flour in an airtight jar. It can be used instead of wheat flour in many recipes.

Burying breadfruit is a preservation method used in some parts of the Pacific. It is peeled, cored, and cut up into small pieces. A pit is lined with banana or breadfruit leaves and the breadfruit is put aside. It is covered with more leaves, old sacks, earth, and a layer of stones. After two months, the breadfruit is fermented and is ready to eat, although it may be kept this way for a year. When the breadfruit is dug up, it is put into sacks and rinsed with water until the sour-smelling liquid is removed. Then it is mixed with coconut cream and baked. Mashed bananas may also be added to the mixture before baking.

Freezing breadfruit also preserves it. Boiled, baked, or roasted breadfruit can be frozen. Cut the fruit into thin slices, wrap in grease-proof paper, and then package in plastic bags. It is more convenient for use if frozen in small amounts. Reheat over steam or use in stews or soups. Once unfrozen, it can be fried.

PERCENTAGE OF DAILY NEEDS OF AN ADULT WOMAN, FILLED BY ONE-HALF SMALL, BOILED MATURE BREADFRUIT

Energy 5%
Protein 5%
Vitamin A
Vitamin C 67%
Vitamin B1 11%
Vitamin B2 5%
Calcium 6%
Iron 5%
Niacin 8%



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Bibliography

"Breadfruit." rfcarchives.org.au. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. South Pacific Commission Leaflet 9, 1983. May 1983. Web. 2 May 2015.

Published 2 May 2015 LR
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