The importance of including fruits in our diet is practically indisputable, it is more than proven that they make a difference in our health and help us to have quality of life.
We can say that there are more popular fruits, which are part of the daily life of most families, but there are also those fruits that we don’t find so often, as they are considered more regional and even exotic. This is the case with breadfruit . Maybe you’ve heard of it, but do you really know it?
The breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), originated in Malaysia and is also known as bread tree, rhyme or jackfruit. It can be considered cousin of jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus). The tree is tall and leafy, reaching over 20 meters. It is abundant in the North and Northeast of Brazil and has been part of Brazilian culture for at least two centuries.
WHY BE BREADFRUIT?
It easily replaces bread or any other carbohydrate, which justifies its name. It is traditionally part of the breakfast of families in the Northeast, being cooked, hot and with butter. In Bahia, it is customary to eat porridge with coconut milk and cereals.
Breadfruit is considered one of the most important food fruits in the world. Let’s get to know the most common types:
BREADFRUIT PASTE (ALTOCARPUS ALTILIS VAR.APYRENA)
This variety does not contain seeds and can weigh up to 3kg.
It is usually eaten as a puree seasoned with butter and salt or honey or molasses, or roasted (put whole in the oven) or cooked (in pieces), or it can also be sliced and fried.
It is also possible to make the breadfruit flour, for that it must be cut into thin slices and dried in the sun or in the oven and then ground. Flour can be mixed with wheat or corn and used to make bread and other recipes.
STONE BREADFRUIT (ALTOCARPUS FARMING SSP. SEMINIFEROUS)
Of this variety, only the seeds are consumed, which can be cooked with water and salt or roasted, or they can also be made into flour. Seeds are used to replace beans in some regions.
Despite being a tasty food, breadfruit is much more than a simple hunger killer, it has beneficial and medicinal properties from the roots to the leaves, let’s know some:
– Root: has antidiarrheal properties, treats rheumatism and numbness of the legs
– Flowers: they are emollient
– Fruits: treat boils and tumors, are depurative
– Seeds: treat kidneys and stomach, discharge from the genitourinary system
– Latex: healing
– Leaves: the tea made from the leaves of breadfruit is indicated for the control of diabetes.
HOW TO PREPARE BREADFRUIT
Traditional breadfruit preparations are very simple. Below are the recipes for cooked breadfruit and breadfruit leaf tea:
- Bread fruit (ripe), the quantity is at the discretion
- water (for cooking)
- salt to taste
Cut the breadfruit into slices or pieces, remove the core (where the seeds are) and the skin. Then just put it in a pan with water and salt and cook until the pieces are soft, just stick with a fork to feel the point. Then just drain the water and it’s ready.
BREADFRUIT LEAF TEA
- 1 leaf of fresh breadfruit or 1 teaspoon of dried leaves
- 200 ml of water
Bring the water to a boil and then add the leaf and let it boil for a few minutes. Then just strain and drink.
Below are some vitamins and minerals present in breadfruit:
- Carbohydrates – produce and store energy;
- Potassium – prevents cardiovascular disease, good for mental health, regulates metabolism, relieves pain, stress, anxiety, helps weight loss and lean mass gain;
- Fiber – aids weight loss, natural laxative, lower blood glucose levels, lower pressure;
- Xanthine – brain and psychomotor stimulant;
- Lutein – antioxidant good for heart and blood vessels;
- Vitamin C – treats colds and flu, antioxidant, protect cells;
- Complex B vitamins – friend of antibodies;
- Magnesium – maintains tissue health, improves muscle tone, aids sleep, weight loss, regulates metabolism;
- Calcium – important for bones and teeth;
- Phosphorus – balances PH, provides energy;
- Sodium – helps keep body fluids in balance;
- Proteins – participate in most of the body’s biological processes
Regular consumption of breadfruit helps: control diabetes and hypertension, fight cirrhosis of the liver, recovery from dengue and yellow fever, prevention of prostate cancer and is also a source of energy.
Breadfruit is rich in carbohydrates and can be considered caloric, but not the most caloric of fruits. Avocado, for example, is more caloric than breadfruit. The key is in balance. Fruit can be consumed daily, but its consumption must be combined with foods with fewer calories and more fiber, for example. It should also be remembered that it is important to avoid being sedentary and to practice physical activities, at least 3 times a week, this goes for the consumption of any fruit.
HOW TO PLANT BREADFRUIT
Breadfruit likes sun and humid tropical climate. To plant the seeded variety, the seeds must be buried in a pit of approximately 50x50cm, this must be fertilized with manure or compost. Germination takes place around 21 days and the fruits appear from the 3rd year onwards.
The seedless variety must be reproduced by seedlings, cuttings or root shoots that should only be removed from the plant on rainy days.
CURIOSITIES ABOUT BREADFRUIT
- The African bread fruit (Treculia africana) is an exotic plant originating in West and Central Africa, considered one of the largest, if not the largest fruit in the world, weighing up to 30 kg per unit.
- There is an institute specially dedicated to the study of this fruit, the Global Breadfruit, created by Diane Ragone, researcher at the Tropical Botanical Garden of Hawaii. According to Diane, a single breadfruit has enough nutrients to feed a family of five. For this reason it is considered by many to be a superfood.
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