The Amazing Breadfruit
Breadfruit is a weirdly named and unique tropical fruit, native to Pacific Island nations. The green pod-like fruit has a starchy interior that can be prepared like a potato or even made into a sweet pudding-like dessert. A really incredible thing is that breadfruit can also be used to make bread out of it, just like wheat flour. But what is breadfruit, where did it come from and why is it so important?
What is Breadfruit?
Breadfruit – also known as the ‘tree of life’ – is the fruit of a species of flowering tree restricted to the tropics of the world. It has a distinctive, round shape and green colour. The fruit has a leathery outer skin, and the yellowish-white flesh is made up of around 40% starch and 20% sugar when ripe.
The texture and taste of breadfruit can be likened to a potato or a yam, although the taste is nuttier and slightly sweet. Breadfruit is best cooked before eaten, because raw breadfruit can be quite astringent. But when cooked properly, it is a great source of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Origin of Breadfruit
Breadfruit is thought to have first originated in New Guinea and other islands in the southwestern Pacific. It was then introduced to the Caribbean in the 18th century by Captain William Bligh, who was tasked with collecting and distributing breadfruit for the Royal Navy.
Bligh captained HMS Bounty in the Second Breadfruit Voyage, on which he transported many breadfruit plants to the Caribbean. His mission was successful, but he and his crew endured a long and eventful journey, with storms and illnesses.
Since then, breadfruit has become a common crop in some tropical regions and it is now found in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Caribbean.
Uses of Breadfruit
The versatility of breadfruit is one of its drawcards – it can be eaten boiled, fried, steamed, baked, mashed and even mashed into a pudding. The dried flour of breadfruit is also used in baking, and it can even be used to make beer.
In the Pacific Islands, breadfruit is an often eaten as a staple crop. It’s a great food source for people living in rural and remote areas, where other foods may be hard to come by or expensive.
But breadfruit is not only used for food – it has many other uses. It can be used to make fuel, animal feed, and even a type of denture glue!
Nutritional Value of Breadfruit
As mentioned, breadfruit is a great source of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. The fruit is an excellent source of complex carbs, which give you a slow and steady release of energy, making it perfect for active lifestyles.
Breadfruit is also an excellent source of potassium, zinc, calcium and magnesium. Potassium is important for proper muscle and nerve function. It also helps in managing blood pressure levels, while zinc helps maintain your immune system and keeps your bones and teeth strong.
The high-fibre and low-fat content of breadfruit makes it a healthy choice for individuals looking to reduce their calorie intake without sacrificing essential vitamins and minerals.
Breadfruit is not only incredibly versatile, it is also incredibly nutritious – a great source of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and complex carbs. The fruit has helped many people in Pacific Islands and other tropical climates, who rely on it as a basic food source.
If you’re looking for an unusual, nutritious and tasty fruit, look no further than breadfruit! Just remember to always cook it before eating.
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