Breadfruit is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family (Moraceae) originating in the South Pacific and that was eventually spread to the rest of Oceania. British and French navigators introduced a few Polynesian seedless varieties to Caribbean islands during the late 18th century, and today it is grown in some 90 countries throughout South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, Central America and Africa. Its name is derived from the texture of the moderately ripe fruit when cooked, similar to freshly baked bread; it has a potato-like flavour.

© J. Trapman / FAO

© J. Trapman / FAO



The breadfruit is a large green fruit, usually about 10 inches in diameter, with a pebbly green skin and potato-like flesh. It is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more grapefruit-sized fruits per season. It requires very limited care. In the South Pacific, the trees yield 50 to 150 fruits per year. In southern India, normal production is 150 to 200 fruits annually. Productivity varies between wet and dry areas. In the Caribbean, a conservative annual estimate is 25 fruits per tree. Studies in Barbados indicate a reasonable potential of 16 to 32 tons per hectare (6.7-13.4 tons/acre). The ovoid fruit has a rough surface, and each fruit is divided into many achenes, each achene surrounded by a fleshy perianth and growing on a fleshy receptacle. Most selectively bred cultivars have seedless fruit. The breadfruit is closely related to the breadnut, from which it might have been selected. It is noticeably similar in appearance to the jackfruit.


Food uses:

Breadfruit are not edible until they are cooked and they can be used in place of any starchy vegetable, rice or pasta. Breadfruit is picked and eaten before it ripens and is typically served like squash-baked, grilled, fried, boiled or roasted after being stuffed with meat. It's even been known to turn up in preserves or in a beverage. In Barbados, breadfruit is boiled with salted meat and mashed with butter to make breadfruit coucou. It is usually eaten with saucy meat dishes. Both ripe and unripe fruits have culinary uses, but unripe breadfruit is consumed cooked. In addition to the fruit serving as a staple food in many cultures, the trees' light, sturdy timber has been used for outriggers, ships and houses in the tropics.


Health & nutrition values:

Breadfruit are very rich in starch, which transforms to sugars when very ripe. Before being eaten, the fruits are roasted, baked, fried or boiled. When cooked, the taste of moderately ripe breadfruit is described as potato-like, or similar to freshly baked bread. Breadfruit is roughly 25% carbohydrates and 70% water. It has an average amount of vitamin C (20 mg/100 g), small amounts of minerals (potassium and zinc) and thiamin (100 μg/100 g). Breadfruit seeds resemble chestnuts in texture and flavour. They are a good source of protein (13-20%) and low in fat (6-29%) compared to nuts such as almond, Brazil nut, and macadamia nut. The main amino acids are methionine, leucine, isoleucine, and serine. The fat extracted from the seed is a light yellow, viscous liquid at room temperature with a characteristic odor similar to that of peanuts. It has a chemical number and physical properties similar to those of olive oil. Seeds are a good source of minerals and contain more niacin than most other nuts.


Cultural Festival:

Breadfruit Festival. The Breadfruit Festival is held annually in the month of August, and compliment the Emancipation Month activities as the breadfruit is associated with slavery.



Breadfruit Festival

National Tropical Botanical Garden – Breadfruit

National Tropical Botanical Garden – How to cook Breadfruit

Fried breadfruit with whole fried frish