If you’ve ever read books such as Lost or The Swiss Family Robinson, you’ll probably notice that the main characters eat breadfruit. Whatever this magical fruit is, it seems to help them stave off hunger and survive life on a deserted island.
While breadfruit most often appears in works of fiction, it’s far from a fictional fruit entirely. Breadfruit is a real fruit that you can find in tropical countries around the world and that has a unique and distinct flavor.
Breadfruit tastes slightly sweet and has a mild, tropical flavor. The fruit becomes sweeter depending on whether you eat it ripe or unripe, but overall can be likened to the taste of artichoke or avocado.
What Is Breadfruit?
Before we dive into what breadfruit tastes like, let’s take a moment to talk about what the fruit actually is. This fruit is a tropical plant that has yellow-green, scaly skin resembling that of an alligator.
Breadfruit can grow to huge sizes, weight up to 12 pounds and reaching roughly a foot in diameter. The fruit is most common in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in the Polynesian Islands.
What Does Breadfruit Taste Like?
The taste of breadfruit varies depending on whether you eat it unripe, ripe, or overripe. Let’s take a look at the flavor profile of each of these stages of the breadfruit’s life cycle.
If you come across unripe breadfruit you’ll notice that it has hard, green flesh and tastes most similar to a vegetable. The fruit is extremely starchy and tastes best boiled until the flesh becomes soft and tender.
When you bite into unripe yet cooked breadfruit, you’ll notice a mild flavor similar to that of artichoke hearts. The meaty texture is quite mild but is a hearty meal whether you’re on a deserted island or in your dining room.
Once breadfruit ripens up, the flavor changes drastically. The breadfruit becomes a smooth, pasty texture and takes on a yellow color.
The aroma of ripe breadfruit is deliciously sweet, but don’t be fooled! If you bite into ripe breadfruit it will still lack sweetness and is generally considered unpleasant.
If you cook ripe breadfruit, the plant becomes much more edible. The flavor is reminiscent of a potato and has a similar aroma. However, the scent changes from sweet to the scent of freshly baked bread, hence the name of the plant.
Probably the tastiest form of breadfruit is overripe breadfruit. The reason for this is that all the starches in the fruit change into sugar, making for a custardy and bread-like flavor that’s quite pleasant to eat.
Overripe breadfruit has a mushy and sticky texture. Even the skin of the fruit softens considerably, making it much easier to open the fruit and get into the delicious fruit inside.
Health Benefits of Breadfruit
Although the main reason why people eat breadfruit is as a snack, it’s also a great choice for anyone wanting a healthy source of nutrients. Breadfruits contain many vitamins and minerals that are critical for a healthy diet.
For one, breadfruit contains complex carbohydrates as well as antioxidants. These make it great for boosting your energy ad repairing cell damage in the body.
Aside from this, breadfruit contains vitamins C and B, potassium, fiber, iron, and calcium. These nutrients keep your bones healthy, your digestive system in check, and your heart working correctly.
What’s more, breadfruit has nine core amino acids and high protein content while containing very little fat. Its unique flavor also makes it a great substitute for gluten products, meaning it’s a healthy choice for those with coeliac disease.
Where to Buy Breadfruit
Although breadfruit is commonly enjoyed around the world, it’s not commercially grown in the United States. That can make it pretty tough for you to get your hands on if you’re wanting to try some at home.
Luckily, many Caribbean food stores or Latino markets stock this fruit. You can also order breadfruit online from specialty food stores or select tropical farmers’ markets so that you can try it out!
How to Eat Breadfruit
If you do manage to come across some breadfruit you’ll probably be wondering how to actually eat the fruit. The good news is that there are a couple of different ways that you can prepare this fruit!
For one, you can always eat the fruit raw. However, unless you’re eating it overripe, this isn’t recommended as the flavor is a bit bitter and very starchy.
Another option for eating breadfruit is to steam it. Steaming it helps preserve the flavor and creates a delicious, bready delicacy that you’ll adore biting into.
Finally, you can boil breadfruit much like you would a potatoe. The flavor of the fruit when boiled is reminiscent of that of a palantain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have some questions about breadfruit? We’ve got a few more answers for you. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about this tropical delicacy.
What Does Breadfruit Taste and Smell Like?
Breadfruit has a taste that’s similar to that of plantain. When raw, it has a starchy and slightly sweet flavor. However, when you cook the vegetable you’ll immediately notice that the fruit smells like fresh-baked bread.
Does Breadfruit Taste Like Jackfruit?
Although many people confuse the two fruits, jackfruit and breadfruit are not the same things. And, as such, they have a very different flavor. Jackfruit tends to be meatier while breadfruit has a starchier and sweeter flavor.
Is Breadfruit Good to Eat?
If you want to eat breadfruit, good for you! This fruit is tasty and delicious and is perfectly good for eating. Plus, it has a delicious flavor that you won’t find anywhere else.