Cooking with Chef Sian: Breadfruit, the Superfood

Is breadfruit a superfood?

What exactly is a ‘superfood’ and is breadfruit a superfood?
Well. Let’s take a closer look at this perfect(ly) delicious, totally healthy, specimen called Breadfruit?
Breadfruit can be cooked and eaten at all stages of growth; from small and immature, when it is similar to artichoke hearts; to starchy mature; to ripe when it is soft and sweet. Breadfruit is typically consumed when it is mature, but still firm.

full breadfruit, sliced

Breadfruit has a unique mild flavor that is hard to describe. The fresh fruit can be baked, boiled, roasted, or steamed. When it is roasted breadfruit, a full unripe breadfruit, has a texture and odor similar to fresh- baked bread. The texture is similar to sweet potatoes when boiled. Original to the Pacific, breadfruit was introduced to the Caribbean by Captain Bligh in the late 1700’s. Breadfruit can now be found in more than 80 countries worldwide.Because the tree bears plentifully, up to 200 fruits per season, and the fruit is loaded with nutritional benefits; in recent years breadfruit has developed a reputation for being a “super food”.

BREADFRUIT FACTS

  • Breadfruit is a healthy, tasty substitute for starchy root crops like potatoes, pasta, or rice.
  • Breadfruit flour makes a great flour substitute, for many gluten- free recipes
  • Breadfruit is heavily featured in East Asians, Micronesia, Polynesian, and Caribbean cuisines.
  • It is a good source of fiber, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and niacin.
  • Some varieties are good sources of anti-oxidants and carotenoids.
  • Breadfruit is high in energy from carbohydrates and low in fat.
  • The are over 100 varieties of breadfruit around the world

laden breadfruit tree

Breadfruit is featured heavily in Caribbean cuisine. It is often boiled with ground provisions in soups or with meat  and other foods to make a meal. A full or a half- ripe breadfruit is best roasted, sliced and served alongside meat. The bread like texture is perfect for sopping up some gravy. Fry the roasted breadfruit or slice and fry the raw breadfruit with a little salt for a tasty side dish  that’s perfect any time of the day.

Ackee & Saltfish with Roast Breadfruit
A traditional Jamaican meal of roast breadfruit with ackee & saltfish and steamed cabbage
breadfruit gnocchi with curried fish filet
Breadfruit- cassava gnocchi make with a combination of breadfruit and cassava flour. Served with steamed cabbage and a curried fish filet. This dish was prepared for a breadfruit flour experiment done in partnership with the Trees That Feed Foundation and Jamaican Eats magazine

Breadfruit can be found in many Caribbean and West Indian stores around the world. You can also find breadfruit flour in some specialty food stores and from online retailers like Amazon.com

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