From the Archives
of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
South Pacific Commission Leaflet 9, 1983
Requiring Little Care
breadfruit tree grows to 8 to 8 metres (30 to 60 feet) and begins
bearing fruit after about six years. Breadfruit leaves are large,
leathery, and over 30 cm (1 foot) long.
Many varieties of
breadfruit grow in the Pacific. Leaves differ in shape and fruits
differ in shape, size and time of ripening. Most varieties bear fruit
in the wet season, but some bear fruit at other times. Breadfruit trees
grow in a variety of soils, and fruit well on atolls. Varieties have
adapted to different climates, but high winds or little rainfall can
cause loss of leaves and may even cause them to die.
seeds from full-ripe fruits in well-drained soil is one way to grow
breadfruit trees. Another way is to plant young shoots or suckers.
Young breadfruit trees need protection from hot sun. Later they grow
best in full sunlight. Older trees require little care except on atolls
where they must sometimes be watered and manured with compost.
is an energy food. Starch and sugar make breadfruit high in energy
which the body needs for warmth, work and play. Breadfruit is a fair
source of Vitamin C. This vitamin keeps the body tissues strong, helps
the body to use iron, and aids in chemical actions in the body.
Breadfruit is rich in fibre, which is needed to make the intestines and
bowels work properly. People who eat foods rich in fibre are less
likely to be too fat or obese. Obesity can lead to diabetes and heart
Polished white rice provides some energy and protein,
but fewer vitamins and minerals than breadfruit. Rice should not be
eaten alone, but should be mixed with vegetables and meat or fish.
Breadfruit should not be eaten alone either. Eating it with fish, meat,
or other protein foods provides the nutrients necessary for a healthy
and active body.
Breadfruit seeds are a fair source of protein,
which the body needs to grow and stay healthy. Vitamin B1 (thiamin),
which is plentiful in the seeds, helps the body to convert
carbohydrates into energy and heat. Breadfruit leaves are good sources
of Vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Iron helps keep blood healthy and
calcium helps to make strong bones and teeth.
Breadfruit is used
when it is mature, that is, when the while milky sap comes to the
surface and runs over the outside. The fruit is still hard and green.
If the breadfruit is allowed to ripen, some of the starch in it turns
to sugar. It has a sweet flavour and should be used when it is soft,
but not rotten. Breadfruit seeds, leaves, and blossoms are also eaten.
The seeds have a pleasant nutty flavour. Only very young leaves may be
eaten. If the blossoms are picked when just ripe, before they are brown
and hard, they may be eaten also.
methods of preparing breadfruit include baking in ground ovens or
roasting over hot coals. It may be fermented by burying it in layers
between leaves. The fermented breadfruit is removed from the pit, mixed
with coconut cream, and baked into a sour bread. Today it can be
prepared by traditional methods, or baked, steamed, or fried. The fruit
is pricked with a fork before baking or roasting it, so that it does
not explode. Bake it in a moderate oven (180°C or 350°F) until
soft, about 1½ hours. When steaming or boiling breadfruit, peel
it first. Mature grated breadfruit may be used instead of wheat flour
in some recipes. Fried breadfruit slices are prepared using roasted or
boiled mature breadfruit. Core and slice it to the desired size. Fry in
hot oil until golden brown and serve warm.
Young leaves are
softened over a fire. Remove the stalks, wash the leaves, and cook
covered in a small amount of salted water for about 20 minutes. Serve
with coconut cream if desired.
Prepare breadfruit seeds by
washing and then dropping them into salted boiling water. Cook covered
for 45 minutes. Drain and serve hot. They can also be used as nuts when
storing breadfruit for a short period of time, keep it in a cool and
dark place until needed. If it is to be stored overnight, place the
whole breadfruit under water. Breadfruit not eaten during breadfruit
season is preserved by drying, burying, or freezing. This enables these
delicious products to be used at any time of the year and in
emergencies. Using preserved breadfruit saves money.
done by the sun or in a very slow oven (50°C or 120°F). Wash
mature breadfruit and cut it into pieces. Peel and core it. Slice very
thinly, place on racks and put in the sun to dry. When well dried, wrap
in plastic bags or leaves so as to keep out moisture. Dried breadfruit
is an excellent addition to soups and stews. Another way of drying
breadfruit is to cook it first and then mash it into paste. Dry the
paste in the sun and store in airtight containers.
flour is made from dried breadfruit, by pounding or by grinding if a
grinder is available. Sift and repeat the process until all of the
flour is sifted. Store the flour in an airtight jar. It can be used
instead of wheat flour in many recipes.
Burying breadfruit is a
preservation method used in some parts of the Pacific. It is peeled,
cored, and cut up into small pieces. A pit is lined with banana or
breadfruit leaves and the breadfruit is put aside. It is covered with
more leaves, old sacks, earth, and a layer of stones. After two months,
the breadfruit is fermented and is ready to eat, although it may be
kept this way for a year. When the breadfruit is dug up, it is put into
sacks and rinsed with water until the sour-smelling liquid is removed.
Then it is mixed with coconut cream and baked. Mashed bananas may also
be added to the mixture before baking.
Freezing breadfruit also
preserves it. Boiled, baked, or roasted breadfruit can be frozen. Cut
the fruit into thin slices, wrap in grease-proof paper, and then
package in plastic bags. It is more convenient for use if frozen in
small amounts. Reheat over steam or use in stews or soups. Once
unfrozen, it can be fried.
PERCENTAGE OF DAILY NEEDS OF AN ADULT WOMAN, FILLED BY ONE-HALF SMALL,
BOILED MATURE BREADFRUIT
Vitamin C 67%
Vitamin B1 11%
Vitamin B2 5%