Another fruit (vegetable?) that I had never tasted before coming to Mauritius: the breadfruit.
Think about it a bit like a big potato. The texture once boiled is probably a bit more soft in the mouth, like melting but still firm, specially if the breadfruit is ripe when you boil it. It can be used for a variety of dishes – really anywhere you would use potatoes. We tend to eat it as a snack, plain, boiled and served with a satini pomme d’amour (Mauritian tomato salsa) and a bit of chilli. I might do a vegetable curry if it soon, it has to be nice! The breadfruit can also be fried, baked, roasted.
It is another evergreen tree found a little bit around the island, but the east seems to be a good place to buy the fruit.
A bit of history…
Pierre Poivre (1719-1786), well known botanist, explorer and administrator, is the one who first brought the breadfruit tree to the Ile de France (aka Mauritius). He became administrator of the Iles de France, also known as the Mascareignes (Mauritius, Rodrigues and Réunion Island) and is the one who organised plantations on the island. He is the one responsible for the Botanical Gardens of Pamplemousses – on his own land then. The gardens are still a very well know attraction on the island, for tourists and locals alike. The breadfruit tree was brought to the island, from the Phillipines, to enrich his gardens. Being cheap the fruit was later used to feed the slaves. (source: bibliomonde.com)
I actually haven’t been for ages, will try to take the kids during the holidays.
So what’s good about the funny fruit?
- It’s an excellent source of potassium – so regulating the salt in our bodies,
- It also is a great source of anti-oxidants, high in Vitamin C,
- It has lots of fiber
And probably a lot of other good things. You have all these websites these days who tell you if you eat this or that you’ll look younger, live longer, and blah blah. I believe in a diet where you eat a bit of everything and of course that somethings are better than others – breadfruit is probably on the better side.
What makes it very good though, is that once the tree starts producing, after 3-5 years it will provide a lot of fruits, so it very cheap and very filling and still provides quality minerals, vitamins and fiber. One can also make flour (and it’s gluten free!) to store it.