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one green planet

If you have an indomitable love for food in your heart, you probably know how amazing it feels to step foot inside of an international grocery store. Perhaps you were only in search of a specific ingredient and then ended up taking home a whole slew of culinary delights, such as fruits, vegetables, spices, and more goodies that you wouldn’t have found at your local store. Sometimes visits to international grocery stores can end up having consequences on your bank account, but in the end, it’s money well spent when you’re able to try things you’ve never had the chance to before.

If you happen to find yourself in Chinatown or a Caribbean/West Indian market, one of the more obscure fruits you might come across is breadfruit. Breadfruit is a large, tropical fruit that looks similar in size, shape, and color to jackfruit, but without jackfruit’s spiny skin.

Breadfruit is a staple food in many Caribbean cuisines as well as in Hawaii, where it is sometimes called a “tree potato” due to its starchy texture when cubed and boiled.

Shutterstock 504822529Jfanchin/Shutterstock

Unlike plantains, breadfruit can be eaten at any stage. According to ethnobiologist Diane Ragone, head of National Botanical Garden’s Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii, “When it’s small and green, it tastes like an artichoke. When it’s starchy and mature, it’s the equivalent of a potato. When it’s soft and ripe, it’s dessert.” Moderately-ripe breadfruit has been described as tasting similar to freshly baked bread. Ripe breadfruit is soft to the touch and has greenish-yellow skin with some cracking between the grooves. Its skin may also be sticky, due to the fruit’s sap. To avoid getting this sap on kitchen knives, breadfruit should be soaked in cold, clean water for a couple of minutes and then thoroughly rinsed.

Ripe breadfruit can be used to make baked desserts. It’s often used to make breadfruit pudding, a baked dessert that is similar to Caribbean cassava pone. It might take some experimenting, but breadfruit could likely stand in for pumpkin in this Pumpkin Pone by Charlene Harris. Much like plantains, moderately ripe breadfruit can be used in savory dishes. For example, you can use a similar method that you would use to make tostones to make breadfruit tostones. It can also be used in dishes like soups, stews, and curry.

Travis Piper used moderately ripe breadfruit to make this Breadfruit CurryBreadfruit Curry With Roasted Eggplant

Breadfruit makes an excellent centerpiece in this Indian-style curry. This recipe uses a lot of different spices, but feel free to substitute or omit almost any of them. Coconut milk, curry powder, coriander, turmeric, and ginger form the base.

Now, we want to hear from you! Have you tried breadfruit before? Let us know what you think of it and what your favorite plant-based breadfruit recipe is!

If you want even more food articles, cooking tips, and more, we highly suggest downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source:  Jfanchin/Shutterstock

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