Yummy Roast Breadfruit
So you asked what is that fruit? And I said Breadfruit. Then you asked how do you eat it? And the natural answer for most Jamaicans is “Roast the Breadfruit and eat with Ackee & Saltfish.
Breadfruit to Jamaica
Breadfruit was originated in the South Pacific. It was introduced to the Caribbean in the late 18th Century. They say the name came from its similarity in taste to bread and part of the fruit family. The fruit was sort after as a high energy food that was cheap. It was Captain William Bligh of the British Royal Navy who was credited with bringing breadfruit to Jamaica during one of his voyage around 1787.
According to several sources, breadfruit is a good source of vitamin C, B, Potassium and host of other daily essential nutrition’s. When breadfruit is fit and ready to be eaten, the skin color changes from that rich green to a darker brownish green. The riper the breadfruit, the richer it is in starch.
How is Breadfruit Used
This provision will complement several dishes, but the staple dish that comes to mind when Jamaicans think of breadfruit is to serve it with Ackee and Saltfish. Ackee and Saltfish is Jamaica’s National Dish and it’s often served with roast breadfruit, fry dumplings and fried ripe plantains.
Breadfruit is often roasted on an open fire especially when you are in Jamaica. Persons outside of Jamaica will sometimes use a grill for the open fire. Many times when the open fire is not available, baking the breadfruit in an oven is the next best option to roasting.
The most common cooking style to eat a breadfruit is to roast, bake or boil. Often times, while preparing soup, adding breadfruit as one of the provision would be customary. The preparation requires you to peel the green skin from the breadfruit then cut in half. Next step is to cored or de-hart (remove the hart (as the inside is called) the inside core of the breadfruit. Once the heart is removed, cut in manageable slices and add to soup.
To roast breadfruit, in Jamaica it’s often done on an open fire. The kind of open wood fire set between three or four boulders (large rocks). A flat metal bar or a metal tray maybe placed on the rocks to use as holder and the breadfruit on top the holder metal bar or the rocks itself. Before placing the breadfruit on the fire, push a knife from the stem all the way through the heart of the breadfruit to the bottom.
Then from the bottom, you can use the knife to cut an X (crisscross). Now place the breadfruit on the fire and keep turning the breadfruit from side to side until the skin is fully burnt/black. Keep turning and roasting until steam start coming through the top where the knife was inserted. Now you know the breadfruit is fully roasted.
Breadfruit baked in the oven is similar to the open fire, except wrapping in aluminum foil may reduce the cook time. Preheat oven at 400° then place breadfruit in oven. Using aluminum foil is optional, otherwise following the same procedures above for roast breadfruit will give you the same healthy result.
Often times when the breadfruit is bake or roast, there are leftovers. Many times these leftovers are stored in the refrigerator and eaten within the next few days. The preparation usually means frying the breadfruit in a spoon full or two of oil. Substitution for oil could be coconut milk, or other option could be using a toaster oven to warm. Some persons are comfortable eaten the breadfruit at room temperature, the creative choice is yours.
Roast Breadfruit with Ackee & Saltfish
You can say since the beginning of time when breadfruit first came to Jamaica, immediately there was a marriage with Ackee & Saltfish. In Jamaica, Mr. Breadfruit and Ms Ackee who was already dating Saltfish became a hit. Jamaicans rarely talk about Ackee and Saltfish and don’t mention breadfruit.
There was a time in the late 70s and early 80s when Jamaica was going through a challenging retail experience. During that period, shop owners had surplus of supplies that was not flying off the shelf. So in order to not get stuck with a product, the store owners would marry two products and not allow the customers to get what they wanted without buying something that they didn’t want.
Well, it has always been that kind of relationship with Ackee & Saltfish with roast Breadfruit. They did not wait for anyone to marry them, they have been married in Jamaica for over two century and the love affair could not be any stronger. The next time you are looking for a true authentic Jamaican breakfast, try some Ackee & Saltfish with Roast Breadfruit.