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Breadfruit Nutrition facts and Health benefits

Selection and storage

Breadfruit season coincides with other tropical abundances like durian, mango, jackfruit, etc., from May until September. Some of its varieties can be available year-round. In general, fruits that are mature but just short of ripeness, are gathered by hand-picking from the tree.

In the local markets, breadfruit is available in different sizes, shapes, and colors. You may come across seedless or seed varieties in the markets.

Mature but unripe fruit is rather preferred as a vegetable and used in curry/stews/dumpling recipes. The fruit continues to ripen even after picking it up from the tree. Its bright green color gradually turns to light brown as it ripens. Ripen fruits impart a fragrant-rich reminiscence of freshly baked sourdough bread smell and have a sour-sweet, custard apple-like taste. As the fruit ripens its starch turns to sugar, giving a pleasant and intensified fruity smell.

At home, place it in a cool, well-ventilated place. If not used immediately, it will ripen in the next 2-3 days as in jackfruit. The fruit is said to ripen when it yields to gentle thumb pressure.

Ripe fruit should be eaten soon, or else it deteriorates rather quickly. Inhabitants of the Pacific Islands have mastered some unique, ancient techniques to preserve it for off-season uses. The fruit is sun-dried and milled, or fermented in underground ovens. It cannot be stored in the refrigerator since it sustains chilling injury when stored below 12 degrees F.

Preparation and serving method

Breadfruit is used along with other tropical staples like plantain, banana, yam, potato, and rice in the Pacific region as a major starch source. The fruit can be used at different stages of maturity; at its bud stage, immature, mature but firm, and when fully ripe. Breadfruit seeds, rich in protein, can be eaten roasted or boiled like nuts/lentils. Raw, uncooked seeds should not be eaten as they are bitter in taste and may choke.

To prepare, place the fruit on a clean surface and peel its outer skin using a paring knife. Cut the flesh as you do in case of any big-size vegetables and fruits such as pumpkin, butternut squash, muskmelons, etc., into cubes, chunks, slices, or small pieces. In general, cut into quarters, trim away its fiber-rich central core, and discard. In some parts, the whole fruit is roasted intact, which is then peeled and either eaten with seasoning or added to recipes. The ripe fruit is used in a similar way like durian or jackfruit.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Raw breadfruit cubes may be added to stews, soups, curry, baking, and stir-fries much like potatoes.

  • Its slices are fried and eaten like plantain chips. Thin slices can be made into chips.

  • The fruit is popular as rimas in the Philippines where its slices are candied and enjoyed!

  • Fresh ripe fruit is eaten much like dessert. It can be added to make sweet bread, muffins, cakes, puddings, etc.

  • In the seed variety of breadfruit, its seeds are gathered, sun-dried, and used much like other nuts and kernels.

Safety profile

Allergy or intolerance to breadfruit is rare. However, unripe, raw green-stage fruit should be used only after cooking since its flesh may choke the respiratory tract. Once ripened, however, the fruit can be eaten as it is. (Medical disclaimer).

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Further resources:

  1. USDA National Nutrient

  2. A Review on Artocarpus altilis-pdf

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