A popular local fruit which some take for granted could be a key ingredient in solving the world’s food problem.
By 2050 the world’s population could be at 9.6 billion and the Breadfruit Institute, based in Hawaii thinks this fruit can help provide a healthy and sustainable food supply for countries around the globe. The Breadfruit Institute is engaged in an initiative to respond to critical global food security issues by expanding plantings of good quality breadfruit varieties in tropical regions. It is developing partnerships to make breadfruit varieties available as a viable sustainable resource for agriculture, agroforestry, and reforestation.
The institute has already shipped more than 50,000 trees to Africa and parts of the Caribbean.
“Breadfruit trees grow easily in a wide range of ecological conditions with minimal input of labor or materials and require little attention or care. Trees begin to bear fruit in three to five years, producing for many decades. An average-sized tree with a canopy cover of 25m2 will conservatively produce 100 fruit (100 kg) while larger trees can yield 400-600 fruit. Yields are superior to other starchy staples due, in part, to its verticality of production,” according to the institute’s website.
These multipurpose trees also provide construction materials, medicine, fabric, glue, insect repellent, animal feed, and more. Breadfruit is an important component in traditional agroforestry systems and can be grown with a wide range of plants. The trees support sustainable agriculture, improve soil conditions and watersheds, and provide food security. Breadfruit trees also give shelter and food for important plant pollinators and seed dispersers such as honeybees, birds, and fruit bats.
Entrepreneurs and food technologists are exploring ways on how to freeze or can fruit slices and produce chips, crackers, snacks, infant food, flour and starch, all from breadfruit. Nutritionally, breadfruit is high in carbohydrates and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and niacin. Some breadfruit varieties are also good sources of anti-oxidants and carotenoids. Prepared and eaten at all stages of development, it can be roasted, baked, boiled, fried, pickled, fermented, frozen, and dried and ground into flour or starch.
Skin, core, and cube one mature breadfruit. Chop 1/4 sweet onion and 3 coves garlic. Place breadfruit, onion, and garlic in hot, bubbling coconut oil until golden brown or to desired crispness. Season to taste!