Is this the new wonder food? Breadfruit is high in protein and has the potential to feed the world, experts say
- Breadfruit has lumpy green flesh and a potato-like texture
is widely eaten in the Pacific Islands and scientists are encouraging
the planting of trees in countries with poor food security
- One breadfruit, which weighs around seven lbs (3kg) provides the carbohydrate portion of a meal for a family of five
- It can be can be ground into flour and used to make pancakes
- The fruit is rich in vitamins and is a source of carbohydrate and protein
- The protein in the fruit has a higher proportion of aminio acids than soy
12:56 GMT, 30 June 2014
15:31 GMT, 30 June 2014
It may not
be a fruit that you automatically reach for in the supermarket, but the
large and exotic breadfruit is being touted as a wonder food.
by its Latin name, artocarpus altilis, the fruit has lumpy green flesh
and a potato-like texture so that it can be served as part of a main
meal or turned into sweets.
was once a staple in the Jamaican diet and now experts believe it could
provide food security on the island, which imports more than half of
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Wonderfood? Breadfruit (pictured) - Artocarpus
altilis - has lumpy green flesh and a potato-like texture so that it can
be served as part of a main meal or turned into sweets
is widely eaten throughout the Pacific Islands and more breadfruit are
produced per hectare than rice, wheat and corn, New Scientist reported.
Just one breadfruit, which weighs around 7lbs (three kgs), provides the carbohydrate portion of a meal for a family of five.
The fruit can be ground into flour and used in sweet and savoury dishes, including pancakes and crisps.
It is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as being a high source of gluten-free carbohydrate and protein.
The protein in the fruit has a higher proportion of aminio acids than soy.
Diane Ragone of Hawaii’s National
Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) has been studying the plant since the
1980s, which some people say is bland and starchy.
RECIPE IDEAS TO INCORPORATE BREADFRUIT IN YOUR DIET
Mary McLaughlin, founder of the charity Trees that Feed, said that the high-protein fruit can be used to make pancakes.
third of a cup of breadfruit flour is added to the same quantity of
orange juice as well as one egg, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
The mixture is fried in a pan and this recipe makes pancakes for three people.
Breadfruit crisps and pasta are being developed so that the food can be more easily stored.
The NTBG said that mature breadfruit is a healthy substitute for any starchy food such as rice and potatoes if it is boiled, steamed or baked.
Small immature fruit can be boiled, pickled and marinated. They are said to taste like artichoke hearts.
Ripe fruits are creamy and sweet and can be eaten raw or used to make cakes and pies.
Even the flowers found on the trees can be candied and eaten as sweets.
She has studied
hundreds of varieties from 34 countries.
with Nyree Zerega of Northwestern University in Chicago, she traced back
the roots of the fruit using DNA analysis to the breadfruit ‘Eve’.
of the fruit she examined included fingerprints of a plant called
the breadnut that grows in New Guinea. The breadnut is thought to be the
ancestor of the breadfruit.
In 2003 Dr Ragone created the NTBG’s Breadfruit Institute, which includes an orchard on the island of Maui.
there are working with the charity Alliance to End Hunger with the aim
of distributing breadfruit to places without a regular supply of food
across the world.
‘Traditionally in Polynesia you would plant a breadfruit when a child
was born, because that would guarantee food throughout the child’s life’
Dr Zerega said.
Breadfruit trees require little care and thrive in the tropics.
experts are investigating which varieties best suit certain
environments and climates – as well as local tastes – in countries
lacking food security.
Breadfruit (pictured) was once a staple in the
diet of Jamaicans and experts think it could provide food security on
the island, which imports more than half of its food. It is viatamin and
mineral rich, as well as being a high source of gluten-free
carbohydrate and protein
Just one breadfruit, which weighs around seven
lbs (three kilograms) provides the carbohydrate portion of a meal for a
family of five. The fruit can be ground into flour and used in sweet and
savoury dishes, including pancakes and crisps
THE HISTORY OF BREADFRUIT
Breadfruit was first bought to the Caribbean in the 18th Century to feed slaves.
Lieutenant William Bligh first bought the fruit to Jamaica from Tahiti.
It is said that on the way, his crew mutinied and set him adrift, dumping the cargo of breadfruit plants overboard with him.
On his second attempt as a captain in 1792, he brought 2,000 of the plants to Jamaica and 678 bore fruit.
as a stable and cheap food for slaves, breadfruit was not much liked
and it took around 50 years for it to be incorporated willingly into
Scientists think that the fruit's ancestor is the breadnut, which is native to New Guinea.
Breadfruit is so called because of its high
carbohydrate and fibre content. When it is just ripe enough to eat, it
is more like bread as it is starchy and dry, but when it is softer and
riper it tastes sweeter and is more moist.
They are also identifying which varieties of the fruit produce the best yields and protein content.
They think that some of the fruit are highly tolerant to salt, which could prove important in the Caribbean as sea levels rise.
However, some varieties of breadfruit relied upon by people in the eastern Pacific are proving to be less robust.
Scientists are trying to use tissue culture methods to create breadfruit trees that yield more fruit sooner.
progress is difficult, the experts have grown disease-free trees that
start bearing fruit at two years of age – three years sooner than is
From the varieties propagated, 35,000 trees have now been sent to 26 countries, including Jamaica and Haiti.
variety called Ma’afala, which is native to Samoa, bears fruit a
different time to varieties found in the Caribbean, extending the time
when the nutritious fruit is available.
It is hoped that one day there could be forests of breadfruit trees throughout the Caribbean.
The starchy fruit can be ground into flour and used in sweet and savoury dishes, including pancakes and crisps (pictured)