Breadfruit in Hawaii: try some Hawaiian ulu in your diet
Breadfruit in Hawaii is becoming a more popular staple food in Hawaiian cuisine and starting to replace potatoes, poi or rice as a supplement in many households looking for a healthier alternative starch.
Did you know that breadfruit are members of the Moraceae family (fig) and that the fruit and seeds are all edible? Breadfruit in Hawaii are beneficial to the environment, are easy to grow on the island and they produce abundant and healthy fruit to use in savory or sweet dishes and even eaten raw. The ‘Tree of Bread’ has been used to combat hunger is many developing nations and is grown in Hawaii as one of those miracle fruits that is both nutritious and healthy and is considered a superfood on the islands.
What is breadfruit or Hawaiian Ulu?
Native originally to New Guinea and the Malayan archipelago, breadfruit moved throughout Southeast Asia and and Polynesia where it was grown extensively as a staple starch crop. Eventually, breadfruit was exported to grow in many other tropical environments around the world with many uses for the food and materials and exciting dishes made out of the fruit in new and innovative ways.
Introduction of breadfruit to Hawaii is fascinating where it was brought over by the Polynesians around 300AD as part of their canoe plants to grow on the islands.
A staple food of the Hawaiian people and used in a lot of popular Hawaiian Food, breadfruit was also a large part of the culture and spiritual life of ancient Hawaiians. The food and plant was used as a source of food, building material for shelter, sap for the sealant, wood for the canoes, local crafts and even medicine they used daily on the islands.
The species of breadfruit include three different types; Artocarpus Altilis Fosberg, Artocarpus Camansi Blanco and Artocarpus Maiannensis Trecul. Part of the fig family (Moracaeae), breadfruit has multiple uses as food, building material for shelter and canoes and even the sap was used as a sealant in building canoes. The leaves also have medicinal properties that cure skin and ear infections, cure toothaches and help with asthma conditions.
Breadfruit Nutritional Information
There’s lots of breadfruit benefits and including it in your diet. Breadfruit is rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre and consists of the following:
- High in Vitamin C
- Source of magnesium
- Source of Vitamin B1
- High in fibre
- Fat Free
What does Breadfruit taste like when it is ripe?
Ripe breadfruit has a softer touch on the skin and an even pale color on the surface of fruit ranging from 6 to 8 inches. Ripening fruit develops some reddish/brown areas with mottled irregular bumps. The fruit has creamy to yellow flesh that is pasty and sweet when eaten raw or cooked into savory types of dishes. The fruit can be cooked at all different stages of maturity and the seeds can also be eaten when cooked. When you bake, roast or boil breadfruit, it has a wonderful baked bread smell and is starchy.
Uses for eating Breadfruit
In most Polynesian and Asian cultures, the fruit is consumed at all different stages of maturity and often used as a staple ingredient in soups, stews, salads (sliced and boiled) and the seeds can be boiled or roasted and resemble chestnuts in taste and texture. It can also be eaten raw when mature and creamy inside like a custard. Combined with coconut, sugar and salt and baked, it is made into a delicious pudding.
Interesting facts about Breadfruit or Hawaiian Ulu
Breadfruit tree is closely related to Jackfruit and Breadnut that grow in equatorial lowland areas.
Polynesians transported their breadfruit with root cuttings and air layered plants to Hawaii to supplement their diets on the new lands. They also used the plant wood to build homes and canoes on the islands
Scientist have found fatty acids in the fruit that is helpful to repelling mosquitos
Breadfruits are the highest producing plants in the world with productive plants averaging over 200 grapefruit sized fruits per season.
A staple of the Hawaiian culture, breadfruit is sometimes mixed with poi to create a combination poi ulu that is both nutritious and delicious
Grow your own breadfruit tree
Breadfruit trees are easy to grow in Hawaii and once mature produce fantastic and abundant fruit that is both nutritious and tasty. Best grown in well drained soil with amendments, your breadfruit three will thrive in the right conditions in Hawaii. It takes between three to five years for the trees to be productive and bear fruit to harvest. Mature trees can grow a height between forty to eighty feet.
Find out more about growing breadfruits here for more details and helpful information.
Recipes with Breadfruit
A versatile fruit that can be made into sweet or savory dishes, breadfruit is easy and can be used for so many delicious dishes. Check out these fantastic and easy recipes to follow below.
Here’s a simple Ulu preparation basics
Easy to make breadfruit fritters
Delicious fried breadfruit balls
Easy Breadfruit fries recipe
How about some delicious Breadfruit curry?
Sweet breadfruit pudding
Check these other Hawaiian food posts
Learn more about the Breadfruit
Breadfruit Institute – in promoting the conservation study and use of breadfruit for consumption and growing.
The Hawaiian ulu – Neither bread nor fruit
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If you found some other delicious fruit to try from this post, please share your experiences in the comments below for everyone to enjoy. Or even if you have any questions about visiting, I would be more than happy to answer them below.
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