There is a Hawaiian saying, “Look for the oozing breadfruit”: Do what Ku’s wife did. Marry someone who always makes sure you have food. ” I beg to differ, for life in the 21st century is more demanding, and living by bread alone just would not suffice. But, I must admit, cooked breadfruit is very tasty. Rich in fibre, and nutrition, it is a good substitute for bread.
This morning, in my tupperware was several pieces of breadfruit, sliced and deep fried to a golden brown. It is a delicacy, for me. Cooked breadfruit, for me, has the consistency of boiled potato but others liken it to taste like bread, hence the name.
In Brunei, as in most Southeast Asian nations, breadfruit is consumed widely by local people. It is called sukun [Artocarpus elasticus] (in Hawaii it is Ulu). The scientific name, derived from the Greek Artos, meaning bread and karpos, fruit. This fruit can grow up to 90 cm in length and 50 cm in diameter. The fruit we got was much smaller, at best 20 cm long. The green fruit turns a soft pale yellow-green when ripe. The tree can grow up to 28 m tall.
Freshly cooked, this fruit gives a waft of fragrance quite similar to fresh baked bread. This food is a rich source of starch (carbohydrate) and water (70% content).
A search on the web suggests that this fruit is a good source of Vitamin C, with traces of magnesium and potassium. The fruit contains healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils too. Other elements are also present but in miniscule quantities [see reference No 4]. The tree and its fruit have medicinal qualities, the woody parts of the tree are useful for building material and the milky sap has been known to be used for glue, caulking, chewing gum, or medicine.
So then, you don’t need to be a Hawaiian to enjoy breadfruit. If potatoes are to the Irish, by George, breadfruit is to Brunei and the rest of Southeast Asia.
1. Wikipedia: Breadfruit
2. Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit)
3. Coffee Times: Ulu, The Breadfruit Tree
4. Fruitinfo.com: Breadfruit [Table of nutritional content]