Jamaican Breadfruit

A Versatile And Filling Food Item

Jamaican Breadfruit - Although not indigenous to Jamaica, Breadfruit is grown throughout Jamaica.  It originated from the Far East and was introduced and used in the Caribbean as a part of the staple diet on the plantations of the past.

The breadfruit has remained a part of the Jamaican diet for generations and there are different types to be found in different parishes and some parishes have all the types.

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Fit Jamaican breadfruit for roasting/bakingFit Jamaican breadfruit for roasting/baking

The tree of the Jamaican Breadfruit grows very tall and the branches are evenly spread in a wide expanse from the trunk.  

The fruits of a healthy tree are many and depending on the type, vary in sizes with some more rounded and others with a slight oval shape.  

The breadfruits of Jamaica are prepared in different ways, they can be boiled, roasted on an open fire/coals, baked in an oven and diced and deep fried to name a few ways. 

Jamaican Breadfruit roasted on open coalsJamaican Breadfruit roasted on open coals

Preparing your breadfruit

There are a few ways of cooking a breadfruit eg. cooking in water, roasting on coals and baking in the oven.  The traditional Jamaican way is to roast the breadfruit on an open flame.  However, if you have never prepared food on an open flame, I would recommend doing it on coals of a barbeque setting - same results but more controlled. 

Better still, I do all my roasting in the oven,so you could say I oven roast my breadfruit in the oven, slice and serve or slice fry and serve.  I find it easier and cleaner to handle.

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My oven roasted/baked breadfruitsMy oven roasted/baked breadfruits
  • Pierce the heart or the middle of the breadfruit and place on grilling over the hot coals.  Turn often until cooked.  
  •  Checked if cooked by inserting a clean blade into the middle of the breadfruit – if it comes out clean, then it’s ready - similar to checking if a cake from your oven is cooked. 
  • Leave to cool, then peel, cut in quarters, remove the middle (heart) and cut in slices.  
  • Serve hot as the starch on your plate or lightly fried if left to go cold.

If like me, you would prefer not to negotiate the open fire/coals; prepare the breadfruit as above and place in a pre heated oven at 180c for about 30/40 mins – check if cooked as above and when done remove from oven leave to cool, peel, cut in quarters  remove the heart, cut in slices, fry lightly and serve.

You can also be creative with your roast breadfruit by cutting in half, remove the heart and filling the halves with ackee and salt fish or a filling of your choice to create a delicious meal for the family.

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Jamaican Breadfruit

Peeled roasted breadfruitPeeled roasted breadfruit

In the rural areas of Jamaica where breadfruit is plentiful, it is a staple food item – in the cities however, it is less readily available.  Some breadfruits are more suitable for boiling and served with stewed pork or ackee and salt fish but others such as the “yellow heart” breadfruit is mostly cooked by roasting on an open fire or baking.

Most Jamaicans love fried roasted breadfruit served with ackee and saltfish, jerk meats or at breakfast with steamed callaloo and fried plantain.

Jamaican Breadfruit - Eating

Breadfruit sliced for fryingHeart removed and sliced for frying

Urban Jamaicans like to eat roasted breadfruit when they take a trip to the rural areas to see their parents or extended family members.  

You may wonder why this is but the majority of “city dwellers” have their roots in one or the other rural parish and the roast Breadfruit is usually part of a special home coming meal.  

You will rarely meet a Kingstonian who does not have a connection with  rural Jamaica and Jamaicans are very proud of their parish of origin.   

Fried Breadfruit served with steamed mixed vegetablesMy Jamaican Breadfruit Breakfast - served with steamed mixed vegetables

Jamaicans abroad also look forward to some Jamaica roasted breadfruit and whenever a family member from Jamaica is visiting a roast breadfruit or three is a ‘must bring’ items.  

This reminds me of a story with one of my aunts who whenever  she travels, her luggage is filled with such things like roast breadfruit, frozen ackee, fried fresh fish etc for friends and relatives in foreign lands.  

I would often protest that they can get them there and she would respond…yes, " but it doesn’t taste the same”. Anyway, I digress…!

Jamaica Avocado PearsJamaica Avocado Pears

Jamaica Breadfruit

The Breadfruit is quite a versatile fruit, it can be boiled roasted, fried, baked, stuffed etc.  Boiled breadfruit has its own unique taste, but roasted (on the coals of a barbeque or an open fire) breadfruit has a dry bread-like taste similar to a baked Irish potato maybe!  

The breadfruit can be sliced and deep fried which gives it a delicious crispy/crunchy taste similar to fried potatoes.

From my experience, in Jamaica roast breadfruit is mostly fried, before it is served and if not fried, the hot roasted breadfruit is served with stew pork, curried meat or ackee and salt fish, to name a few.

Fried breadfruit served with salt fish and onionsFried breadfruit served with salt fish and onions

The best way to liven up  the left over breadfruit is to dice and fry lightly on both sides for a few mins. It can be served with a dip as an appetiser or part of a main meal.  

Fried breadfruit serve with steam callaloo   and a couple of slices avocado pear  makes a perfect Jamaican breakfast.

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