FRENCH POLYNESIA - OCTOBER 17: Fruit of the Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), Moraceae, French Polynesia (French Overseas Territory). (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Breadfruit Is The Versatile Ingredient With Similar Uses As Potatoes
What Is It?
Breadfruits are green and round fruits with stippled texture on the exterior that grow to about 4-8 inches in diameter. They are easy to cultivate and have a high yield.
They are filled with a fibrous, white pulp that's usually cooked before it's eaten. They're packed with high calories and contain the highest amount of carbs per cup of any fruit.
Native to the Malay archipelago and New Guinea off the coast of Southeast Asia, breadfruits now grow in tropical climates across the world.
It was brought to the Caribbean in the 18th century by William Bligh, initially to provide food for enslaved Africans working on British plantations.
When breadfruit is not ripe, it is starchy and savory like bread. Its flavor is mild and nutty with a firm texture, so you can use it as you'd use potatoes in savory dishes.
After ripening, breadfruits turn yellow and fragrant with a soft, sweet texture, and they can be turned into a variety of desserts.
Different cultures prepare breadfruits in different ways. First, cut off their stems, drain the resin, let the slices sit in water for a few minutes, and then wash them.
In Indonesia, they're fried and eaten as chips, whereas in the South Pacific, they are traditionally fermented before eating. They can also be used as a substitute for potatoes.
Due to their highly perishable nature and low demand, breadfruits are hard to find outside the tropics, even at specialty grocery stores. However, you can order them online.
They're available at grocery providers like FreshDirect and a few smaller providers like the Hawai'i 'Ulu Cooperative.