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HOME GROWN: Breadfruit – a love affair

Suzanne Griffith

HOME GROWN: Breadfruit – a love affair

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Those who know me well are all too familiar with my affinity for breadfruit.
I’ve been known to make an entire meal out of pickled breadfruit, and drive great distances for the privilege of eating it. Some is never enough. Breadfruit is truly one of my favourite things to eat.
I love seeing breadfruit trees; there are two quite near my house. One at my neighbours across the street, and one at my neighbours to the back. Unfortunately, none at my house.
During Tropical Storm Tomas, my son and I anxiously watched as the tree to the rear bowed with the wind, eventually losing a sizeable branch. Luckily the tree survived, and has returned to its former glory.
The tree across the street is always good for a laugh. A laugh you say? How can a tree make you laugh? I’ll tell you.
Periodically, giant breadfruit fall from the tree crashing to the roof below.
My son and I are accustomed to the sound. Guests, however, are shaken, reacting as if a cannon ball has landed on the roof. My son happily shouts, “Incoming breadfruit!” as we dream of how wonderful it would be to have our very own tree.
In reading up on breadfruit I discovered some interesting facts, in addition to those that I already knew.
For the uninitiated, breadfruit was brought to the Eastern Caribbean, specifically St Vincent, by Captain William Bligh in 1791.
 It was regarded as a high-yield, inexpensive, high-energy food source. Its introduction to the Caribbean gave plantation owners a low-cost food source for slaves. In the end, although Bligh was successful in introducing the tree, the slaves refused to eat the bland, starchy fruit.
Depending on the variety of breadfruit tree, of which there are over a hundred, a single tree can produce in excess of two hundred fruits annually.
In Samoa, traditional houses are built from the wood of the breadfruit tree. That’s really cool.
A tree that can not only sustain you, but at the same time is metaphorically prized as a traditional building material for the home.
The wood is lightweight and resistant to termites, also making it a popular material for boat and canoe building.
Less than half a cup of breadfruit is packed with calories, yet at the same time it is incredibly low on the glycaemic index. That’s good news for diabetics. It is also rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
I’m well aware of those that simply don’t like breadfruit; I implore you to give it a second chance.
Try some different preparation methods; look up some new recipes, you’ll be surprised what you may discover!