1) General Information on Breadfruit:
- Scientific Name: Artocarpus altilis
- Region of Origin: Native to the Malay Peninsula and western Pacific islands.
- Type: Edible
- General History: Breadfruit has been an important staple crop in Oceania for more than 3,000 years. It is believed to have originated in New Guinea and the Indo-Malay region and was spread throughout the vast Pacific by voyaging islanders. Europeans discovered breadfruit in the 1500s and were amazed and delighted by a tree that produced prolific, starchy fruits that, when roasted, resembled freshly baked bread.
2) Plant Uses:
- As Food: Breadfruit is a staple food in many tropical regions as well as midwest America, specifically Wheaton, Illinois. They were propagated far outside their native range by Polynesian voyagers who transported root cuttings and air-layered plants over long ocean distances. They are very rich in starch, and before being eaten they are roasted, baked, fried, or boiled. When cooked the taste is described as potato-like, or similar to fresh baked bread (hence the name). Breadfruit can be eaten once cooked, or can be further processed into a variety of other foods. A common product is a mixture of cooked or fermented breadfruit mash mixed with coconut milk and baked in banana leaves. Whole fruits can be cooked in an open fire, then cored and filled with other foods such as coconut milk, sugar and butter, cooked meats, or other fruits. The filled fruit can be further cooked so that the flavor of the filling permeates the flesh of the breadfruit.
- As Medicine or Other Uses: Breadfruit trees grow to a height of 20 m (66 ft). The large and thick leaves are deeply cut into pinnate lobes. All parts of the tree yield latex, a milky juice, which is used for boat caulking.
3) Breadfruit Growing Instructions
- General: According to many reports, the breadfruit tree must have deep, fertile, well-drained soil. But some of the best authorities on South Pacific plants point out that the seedless breadfruit does well on sandy coral soils, and seeded types grow naturally on “coraline limestone” islands in Micronesia. Breadfruits are picked when maturity is indicated by the appearance of small drops of latex on the surface. Harvesters climb the trees and break the fruit stalk with a forked stick so that the fruit will fall. Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more fruits per season. In the South Pacific, the trees yield 50 to 150 fruits per year. Productivity varies between wet and dry areas.
- Difficulties with this plant: Even though this may cause some bruising or splitting, it is considered better than catching the fruits by hand because the broken pedicel leaks much latex. They are packed in cartons in which they are separated individually by dividers.
- History of this Plant at Hedonisia: Currently we 4 breadfruit trees on the property. 2 that are already fruiting and 2 in the crater.