*Written by Mario Aranda – manager and amazing chef at Eden*
Although it’s not native to the Caribbean area, Breadfruit (native to New Guinea) has been used for a long time as food. Then why, despite this, has it been regarded as a not very relevant crop in some places where it could potentially be?
The fruits of this plant can feed up to 18 people with a single recipe. The way of cooking it? You name it! Similarly to the french fries we all love, you can make wedges and fry them. As a meat replacement, marinade and grill thick slices to replicate chicken breasts. Let it ripen until mushy, you get a perfect base for vegan ice cream.
The marvelous range of dishes you can make with breadfruit is not the most incredible thing. It is also the abundant carbohydrate source that the plant represents. When we put topics like food safety on the table, imagine how many people you can feed with just one whole tree? Regarding energy content, 100 grams of boiled breadfruit provides 114 kcal and good amounts of B vitamins, fatty acids and proteins (17 grams from the seeds). The sole act of planting more of these trees can have a wide positive effect on a region.
An interesting thing about crops in a region is the relevancy it has. Not only culturally as part of a specific regional cookbook, but also economically. If a crop seems attractive to a community, the demand of the fruit will enhance the engines of its production. Although Breadfruit is a very resilient species, there are many regions where it’s seen sporadically. If people were made more aware of just how easy it can be to spread this abundant tree, it would have a deep effect for the entire region. Anthropologist Marvin Harris once said, food is one of those defying frontiers for any individual; what’s good for some, might not be the same for others. But when gathered at the table and let food and tradition exchange do the work, that’s where the magic happens. Cook and share are food safety fundamentals, and very often it is through reviving lost knowledge that we end up finding the solutions we need. So why not talk a little more about this amazing food?!