I’ve been eating breadfruit

Breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis, is a starchy fruit that is best eaten cooked, which brings out its wonderful flavor.

Breadfruit is an outstandingly productive staple crop that is roughly the equivalent of a potato that grows on a tree. These starchy fruits are not very good to eat raw, but once cooked they are wonderfully flavorful.

Breadfruit is Artocarpus altilis, so it’s a close relative of delicious tropical fruits like jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) and marang/tarap (Artocarpus odoratissumus).

This fruit tree is exceedingly well adapted to the rainy, humid tropical areas around the equator, where it should be grown and appreciated much more widely than it is. Unfortunately for those of us in Florida, most of our state gets too cold for this tropical fruit tree to survive – while its cousin jackfruit can handle temperatures right down to and even slightly below the freezing point, breadfruit trees suffer die-back at a temperature of 40F (4.5C).   The Florida Keys are the only part of the state which stay reliably warm enough for breadfruit to thrive and fruit.  In the extreme southeastern part of the Florida peninsula, a run of several mild winters in a row led to breadfruit trees fruiting around 2015- 2017, but the cold spells of last winter caused heavy damage to these trees, and it will take a mild winter or two for them to start bearing again.

My favorite way (so far) to cook breadfruit is to pan-fry it with sliced onion in a bit of coconut oil. So delicious!

Where I live in North Florida, breadfruit doesn’t have a prayer of surviving our frosty winters without a well-insulated, heated greenhouse, so I don’t bother trying to grow this tree crop. Instead, I buy the fruits at the market whenever they show up, and they’ve been making regular appearances in my local grocery lately.

There are innumerable ways to cook this fruit. I’ve only explored a little bit in this area, but so far my favorite method is to cut the fruit in half, peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler, cut out the inedible central core, and cut up the surrounding starchy flesh into chunks. Then I pan-fry those chunks with sliced onion in a bit of coconut oil. It’s really, really good – a little bit like eating a potato, but with distinctive hearty texture and delicious  flavor unlike any potato I’ve ever eaten.

I’ve heard that another excellent way to cook this fruit is to roast it in a fire – I want to try that. Do you have any ways you particularly like to  cook breadfruit?


5 thoughts on “I’ve been eating breadfruit

  1. HI! I lvoe breadfruit and the only time ive ever been to get my hands on it is when my friend brigns it in from Jamaica, I read that your local market has em but if you could share where exactly that is, that would be sweet. Thanks for the post!!!

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  2. I haven’t been able to try this fruit. Sometimes it is available at the local market. I have boughten it twice. The first time I left it in the fridge for too long and it went bad. The next time I tried roasting it in the oven and I have no idea what I did wrong but it came out horrible. It was nothing like the recipe videos I saw online. Hopefully Ill get my hands on another one and be able to try your method of cooking it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, when I’ve bought breadfruit, it starts disintegrating in just a couple days if I don’t eat it. Since I posted this, we tried cooking breadfruit in the coals of a fire at our Gainesville fruitluck – it was a little messy, but delicious. The most fantastic breadfruit I ever ate was one I harvested myself at Grimal Grove on Big Pine Key, and cooked & ate less than 24 hours later. Hopefully you can locate someone in your area with a fruiting breadfruit tree, so you can eat one that’s super fresh.

      Liked by 1 person

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