The Breadfruit Tree comes from the Mulberry Family which is all related to the Chataigne Tree and Jackfruit Tree. It can grow to heights well beyond 85Ft. It is Native to the Malay Peninsula and grows torrentially along the South East Asian Countries, Polynesian states straight down to the Tropical countries in the Caribbean. It thrives on a sunny and warm climate and therefore shuns frost inhibited zones. Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more fruits per season. As mentioned before, it is a staple food in many tropical regions. Before eating breadfruit, it is mainly roasted, baked, fried or boiled. When cooked the taste is described as potato-like, or similar to fresh-baked bread (hence the name).
The fruit is available mainly from June to November, but some trees may mature at other times during the year. The fruit itself may look a little daunting at first view but never the less it should not intimidate or ward off one’s intention to get familiarized with it. In the green stage, the fruit is hard and the interior is white, starchy and somewhat fibrous. When fully ripe, the fruit is somewhat soft; the interior is cream colored or yellow and pasty, also sweetly fragrant. The seeds are irregularly oval, rounded at one end, pointed at the other, about ¾’’ long, dull-brown with darker stripes. In the center of the fruit fruits there is a cylindrical or oblong core, in some types covered with hairs bearing flat, brown, abortive seeds about (3 mm) long. The fruit is borne singly or in clusters of 2 or 3 at the branch tips.
What is another important fact is that the breadfruit does have medicinal use here in Trinidad. A concoction of the breadfruit leaf is believed to lower blood pressure, and is also said to relieve asthma. Crushed leaves are applied on the tongue as a treatment for thrush. The leaf juice is employed as ear-drops. Ashes of burned leaves are used on skin infections. A powder of roasted leaves is employed as a remedy for enlarged spleen. In addition the tree trunk produces a flowing latex liquid that when cut it produces a sticky liquid. The latex is used on skin diseases and is bandaged on the spine to relieve sciatica. Diluted latex is taken internally to overcome diarrhea and of course because of its sticky character, it can be used to catch birds when they land on a (Laglee) trap.
With all this said, Breadfruit should be distinguished as a food item that should be diversified more into our local cooking, rather than the common culinary practices we exhaust everyday in Trinidad. It is because of this mind set and generic thinking I decided to show more a coveted side of breadfruit today where I created a dessert entitled Breadfruit Chocolate Truffles.
With an open mind and curious intuition, I ask that you try this unorthodox but delicious spin on a local staple.