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Breadfruit, unlike money, grows on trees. Uncommon in the U.S., the motley-looking fruit just a bit smaller than a cantaloupe is hugely popular in the West Indies, the Pacific Islands, South America, Southeast Asia, and the Seychelles. As with many other tropical fruits, the breadfruit may be eaten ripe as a fruit or green as a vegetable. Savory cooking methods include steaming, boiling, roasted, grilling, or frying, while sweet dishes usually call for baking or steaming. More complex techniques exist: Jamaicans make breadfruit flour to create a porridge, while some traditionalists on the islands of Micronesia have even been known to candy, pickle, ferment, and dehydrate breadfruit to create preserved snacks. Your breadfruit-eating possibilities are seemingly endless, but it is always best to cook it. Some of the 200 varieties of breadfruit tree bear fruit with an enzyme that can make you sick if eaten raw.

Let's see what happens when the Bridge and Tunnel Club steams a breadfruit found in a West Indian market in New York City.

Breadfruit, Banana Country & Fish, 120-01 Liberty Avenue, Richmond Hill, Queens

Steaming Breadfruit

In the U.S. one generally finds seedless fruits, but seeded varieties exist as well. When young and green, the fruit is hard with white, starchy, fibrous flesh. When fully ripe, the fruit is softer with yellow-cream colored, fragrant flesh. Look closely and you'll see that our breadfruit is seedless and semi-ripe. We hacked it into quarters, removed its cylindical core (you'll notice that it's tough, like a mango core).

Steamed Breadfruit

Mashing Breadfruit

It's done steaming when the flesh is easily pierced with a fork -- just like a baked potato. To make mashed breadfruit, just scrape out the flesh, discard the skin, and start smashing. We added a little sour cream, salt, and pepper, but otherwise left it alone since we planned to dump hot sauce on top later.

Mashed Breadfruit

It's still chunky when mashed. Think of it as "rustic." Breadfruit prepared this way has a dense starchiness that holds up to spicy chicken curries or whatever else you can throw at it. The Bridge and Tunnel Club's first breadfruit will not be its last!

For more West Indian-oriented delights, check out our information on Eddoes and Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce.


The Breadfruit Institute

Purdue University's New Crop Resource Online Program Breadfruit Page

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