The name of this fruit is enough to get you curious about it. Is breadfruit a fruit of bread? Still wondering, what does breadfruit taste like?! In this article will give you all the answers and tell you everything you need to know about this exotic fruit.
Breadfruit is a tropical fruit and not a type of bread. It has “bread” in the name because when you cook ripe breadfruit, its taste and smell are like freshly baked bread.
Breadfruit, or Artocarpus altilis, is a member of the Moraceae family. This plant family is more commonly known as the fig family. It is a close relative of the more familiar fruit, the jackfruit. In Hawaii, breadfruit is called ‘Ulu, (yes, the apostrophe comes with the name).
From the outside, it is a round fruit with spiky green skin, which is often compared to alligator skin.
Its appearance might be unappealing, but don’t let that throw you off. The green fibrous flesh inside is worth your attention. Once it has ripened, the flesh becomes a creamy shade of yellow.
This fruit also comes with lots of benefits, plus it is a versatile ingredient.
Unlike most fruits, breadfruit tastes best when it is overripe. By that time most of its starch content has turned into sugar. This results in a pleasantly sweet breadfruit taste.
Breadfruit is not commercially grown in the US. Because of this, it might not be easy to find them in grocery stores, even the large ones. You’ll have better luck finding them in specialty food stores.
Breadfruit and jackfruit look similar in some ways. This is why most people mistake them for one another. However, they are two different fruits, albeit from the same family.
Jackfruit is bigger than breadfruit. Its spikes are more prominent. Also, jackfruit has a strong smell, especially when it is ripe. Breadfruit, on the other hand, has a subtle scent.
There are multiple varieties of breadfruit, some come with seeds, and some without. Not to worry, though; the seeds of this fruit are edible. It can even add some crunch to your recipes.
There are hundred of varieties available. In Hawaii alone, there are 8 popular varieties of the fruit:
In other parts of the world, breadfruit varieties include the following:
You might be curious about everything said about the fruit above. So, what does breadfruit taste like?
The flavor of breadfruit changes as it ripens. This is important because you can eat this fruit at various stages: unripe, ripe, and overripe. Each has specific uses, so it is critical to know their taste differences.
In general, raw breadfruit is starchy. It also has a slightly sweet flavor, mostly compared to potatoes. Yet, when cooked, as mentioned, they taste like baked bread.
The green breadfruit taste is often compared to artichoke hearts. For this reason, it is mostly used for cooking as a vegetable. Once cooked, this fruit loses some of its starchiness. It also yields a meaty texture, so it can be a meat substitute. The breadfruit flavor is subtle when it is unripe. It can blend well with other ingredients in your recipe.
Breadfruit has converted some of its starch to sugar once it has ripened. How does breadfruit taste when ripe? Well, it develops a flavor and texture similar to potatoes.
Ripe breadfruit is not sweet, unlike most ripe fruits. That said, raw breadfruit is still unappealing for most people, even when it is already mature.
For this reason, it’s most often baked and made into cakes and pies.
So, what does overripe breadfruit taste like? At this point, it has turned all of its starch into sugar, so it has a noticeable sweet taste.
And yes, raw breadfruit is pleasant to eat when it is overripe. It also develops a custard-like, pasty texture, as it is mushy and soft.
Breadfruit is chock full of nutrients. For starters, it has a good amount of fiber. On top of that, it also has carbohydrates, magnesium, potassium, protein, and phosphorus. Breadfruit also contains Vitamins B, E, C, and K.
Adding this delicious fruit to your dish will make your meals more nutritious.
How to eat breadfruit
In the kitchen, breadfruit is a versatile ingredient. Here are some of the culinary uses of breadfruits.
The unripe breadfruit can be cooked as a vegetable. It can be steamed, boiled, roasted, sauteed, or baked. Like potatoes, this fruit can also be fried and made into wedges, fries, and balls.
You can also slice this fruit thinly to make chips. In addition, it can be used as a meat substitute, too. This makes it useful in savory dishes, very much like tofu. You can add it to curries, soups, and stews.
Breadfruit can also be made into pies, cakes, pancakes, and donuts. It can be eaten raw with coconut milk, or you can make it into a custard dessert. They can even be candied and added to smoothies!
Breadfruit flesh can also be processed to make breadfruit flour. Thus flour can be used as an ingredient to make bread.
You can eat breadfruit raw, cooked, and dried in sweet and savory dishes, including salads. That’s how versatile it is.
Breadfruit spoils pretty quickly. Fresh, whole breadfruit kept in a cool, dry place will last five days. When kept in the fridge, you should submerge it in cold water so it can last for a week or two.
You can also freeze them, but doing it with raw breadfruit ruins their texture. For best results, slice and boil them first, then allow it to cool. Lay it side-by-side on a baking sheet, then freeze for 2-3 hours. This is called flash freezing. It prevents the slices from sticking to each other. Transfer all to a freezer bag. This way, you can get what you need for a particular recipe and leave the rest in the freezer. There won’t be a need to thaw all of them. Frozen cooked breadfruit can last for 6 months.
You can also dry breadfruit. Dried breadfruit stored in airtight containers will also stay good for 6 months.
Here are some fun facts about breadfruit that can make you even more interested in trying it.
1. The scientific name of breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis, translates to fattened breadfruit. Artos means bread, carpus means fruit, and altilis means fat or fattened.
2. Studies are underway to see if breadfruit can alleviate world hunger. This is because breadfruit trees yield lots of fruits, and they are low-maintenance. They start bearing fruit as early as three years after being planted. It is nutrient-dense and high in carbohydrates and fiber food. This makes it a suitable replacement not only for meat, as mentioned above, but also for a staple food like rice.
3. Some people call it “The Food of the Future” because it is resilient. It is said that it can withstand climate change.
4. You can replace taco shells with fried breadfruit slices. All you need to do is boil thinly sliced breadfruit and allow them to cool. Then, fold them across to form a shape like a taco shell. Use a toothpick to hold the fold in place and deep fry them. Voila! You have a delicious and nutritious taco shell.
Ripe breadfruit smells like bread when cooked, which is how it got its name. They also taste like them.
The unripe version does not share the same smell and taste, though. Unripe ones are more like artichoke hearts than bread.
The breadfruit tree grows in areas with tropical and subtropical climates. Today, it grows in the following areas: Hawaii, Philippines, Indonesia, Micronesia, Malaysia.
Breadfruit is usually large and round, with a bumpy green skin. It can vary in size from about the size of an apple to as large as a football. The flesh of breadfruit is creamy and white.
Breadfruits are pretty useful in the kitchen. Their mild flavor makes them good additions to both savory and sweet dishes. Yet, they don’t last that long unless you freeze or dry them. That said, proper handling and storage are needed. This is especially true if you won’t eat them immediately after purchase.
This fruit is quite interesting. It doesn’t taste like other fruits. The taste of breadfruit changes as it matures. So, what does breadfruit taste like? Unripe breadfruit tastes like artichokes. When ripe, it tastes like bread and potatoes, and the overripe ones are custard-like.