Breadfruit is one of those tropical fruits that caught my attention from the word go. This football-sized yellow-green fruit with alligator-like skin had me wondering what it tastes like the first time I saw it.
An average breadfruit can weigh up to 12 pounds and be 12 inches in diameter. They are very common in Latin America, Polynesia, and the Caribbean. They are known for their extensive nutritional value as well as their versatility in the kitchen.
If you have never tried breadfruit before, I am sure you are wondering what breadfruit tastes like.
Worry not, this article covers everything you should know about breadfruit including its taste, uses, where to buy them, storage, and even a few facts that you will find interesting.
What does it taste like?
First things first, you should know that breadfruit can either be eaten unripe, ripe, or overripe. Therefore, we will discuss the flavor and texture of breadfruit in all three stages.
It is important to note that certain breadfruit varieties contain seeds while others have none. In case you stumble on the ones that have seeds, do not discard them.
Breadfruit seeds are edible and they make for a nutritious crunchy snack when cooked.
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Unripe breadfruit is commonly used as a vegetable.
It normally has green fibrous flesh. It is important to cook unripe breadfruit because it is the only way you can reduce starchiness. Simply boil the breadfruit until it is tender
When boiled, unripe breadfruit has a mild flavor that is very similar to that of an artichoke heart. Its texture is usually meaty which makes it a great addition to several dishes.
Ripe breadfruit has creamy yellow flesh and a pasty texture. It also has a very pleasant aroma. Despite the pleasant aroma, ripe breadfruit is not sweet.
This is because the flesh is yet to convert all the starch to sugar. A lot of people (me included) do not find ripe breadfruit pleasant to eat.
When you cook ripe breadfruit, its flavor is very similar to that of a potato. Its texture is also similar to that of potatoes. The aroma of cooked breadfruit is often compared to that of baked bread.
Most people enjoy eating overripe breadfruit raw. At this stage, the flesh has converted all the excessive starch to sugar hence the sweet flavor. Its texture is also soft and mushy.
Overripe breadfruit has a flavor similar to that of bread and is very sweet. The skin of breadfruit is also soft at this stage, so you can enjoy the fruit with very little effort.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, breadfruit is versatile. You can either boil, fry, or steam it. Additionally, you can use it in a wide range of recipes. Here are a few ways you can use your breadfruit.
- Thinly slice the breadfruit then fry or bake them to make crispy chips.
- Cook it whole then stuff it with your favorite tropical ingredients.
- Process the fruit into gluten-free flour.
- Add it to your salads, pizza, pancakes, bread, or tamales.
- Cut them into pieces that you can dip in hummus.
- Mash them and combine them with coconut milk.
- Add breadfruit to baked goods and smoothies.
Where to buy breadfruit
In the United States, breadfruit may be a little hard to find. The best place to buy breadfruit is at the Caribbean or Asian specialty food stores.
These stores always stock breadfruit. You can also buy breadfruit at local farmers’ markets close to you, but there is no guarantee that you will find it there. Alternatively, you can get breadfruit delivered to your doorstep by specialty online suppliers.
If you live in Hawaii, you are in luck because breadfruit is stocked in most stores. It goes by its Hawaiian name Ulu, so be on the lookout for it the next time you are in Hawaii.
How to choose the best breadfruit
If you want unripe breadfruit, select the ones that have bright green flesh.
They normally ooze white sap when cut. Otherwise, go for the ones that have greenish-yellow skin and a little bit of brown cracking.
They should also be slightly soft. These ones would be ideal for both cooking and eating raw.
How to store breadfruit
Breadfruit should be used as soon as it is bought.
However, if you need to store it for a few days, I recommend storing it in a thick bag inside your refrigerator. Breadfruit does not handle refrigeration well, so it is important that you store it in a heavy bag first.
Interesting facts about breadfruit
They come in various forms
The breadfruit tree is a member of the fig family. There are over one hundred breadfruit cultivars and all of them have slightly different flavors, textures, and appearance.
Additionally, they have different nutritional values. This may explain why different people have different impressions of what breadfruit tastes like.
The trees grow very fast and are high-yielding
Breadfruit trees grow very fast.
When mature, they are usually about 80 feet in height. Each tree needs very little maintenance, which is a plus. One breadfruit tree can produce 450 pounds of breadfruit each year for several decades.
They could be the solution to areas experiencing food shortages
Seeing how much fruit one breadfruit tree produces, there have been suggestions that they could be a solution to food shortage in certain areas.
The trees thrive in tropical and subtropical climates, areas that experience food shortages.
Breadfruit is an amazing tropical fruit, so do not let the size and spiky skin scare you off. Breadfruit flesh can be eaten raw or used in recipes, but I personally prefer using it in dishes. Unlike other tropical fruits, breadfruit does not taste that great when eaten out of hand.
I highly recommend breadfruit for its nutritional value. This fruit pulp offers several nutrients at a go.
If you have never tasted breadfruit, I suggest that you try it out. You just might fall in love with how good it tastes in various recipes.