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Gifts from the Bounty: “Breadfruit, the cannonball shaped fruit” edit

This beautiful cannonball shaped fruit with the bland taste and versatile use of a potato is deliciously included in this recipe to prepare crab rolls with a twist! To make it even more delectable, serve it with a colorful guacamole salad.


But, first, lets go through some very interesting facts to uncover the beauty and wonders of this unique food from the tropics:

When the crew of the H.M.S. Bounty mutinied in the South Pacific, it was carrying "breadfruit". Captain Bligh's goal had been to transport the seedlings from Tahiti to the Caribbean, so that natives there would have a substantial source of food.

Breadfruit seeds, leaves, and blossoms are also eaten. The seeds have a pleasant nutty flavor. Only very young leaves may be eaten. If the blossoms are picked when just ripe, before they are brown and hard, they may be eaten also.

Traditional methods of preparing breadfruit include baking in ground ovens or roasting over hot coals. It may be fermented by burying it in layers between leaves. The fermented breadfruit is removed from the pit, mixed with coconut cream, and baked into a sour bread.

Today, it can be prepared by traditional methods, or baked, steamed, or fried. The fruit is pricked with a fork before baking or roasting it, so that it does not explode. Bake it in a moderate oven (180°C or 350°F) until soft, about 1½ hours. When steaming or boiling breadfruit, peel it first. Mature grated breadfruit may be used instead of wheat flour in some recipes.

All varieties can be divided into two classes:

The seedy types are the normal and these are used for their seeds, which resemble chestnuts. The seedless varieties, preferred as a food, are all mutant forms.

The fruits of seedy varieties fall when ripe and soft. They should be picked up promptly to avoid spoilage, and then removed from the pulp by hand. The seeds are used immediately or are superficially dried to hold for a few days. The most common techniques is to boil the seeds for about an hour with salt, then...after cooled they are peeled by hand. They may be eaten directly, mashed and combined with other foods, and can also be used as nuts when baking.

The fruits of seedless varieties will not fall until ripe, and in doing so mash themselves into a useless and dirty pulp! Since their useful life is short (one week aprox.), the fruits are normally harvested as needed for eating or selling fresh. They can be harvested at any stage. In fact, the male and female flower buds are often taken as a cooked vegetable.

A practical technique to cook this fruit is to cut it up into pieces, about the same size as those of boiled potatoes. They are often peeled but it is not really necessary to do so. The hard and more fibrous core is usually discarded. The pieces are baked until soft and then used just as a potato. Alternatively the partially cooked piece may be cut in slices and fried. The cooked and mashed breadfruit can be used to prepare baked goods in partial substitution for flour.

To prepare Breadfruit Flour: pound or grind dried breadfruit. Sift and repeat the process until all the flour is sifted. Store the flour in an airtight jar. It can be used instead of wheat flour in many recipes.

To dry Breadfruit: this process is usually done by the sun or in a very slow oven (50°C or 120°F). Wash mature breadfruit and cut it into pieces. Peel and core it. Slice very thinly, place on racks, and put in the sun to dry. When well dried, wrap in plastic bags or leaves so as to keep out moisture. Dried breadfruit is an excellent addition to soups and stews.

Another way of drying breadfruit is to cook it first and then mash it into paste. Dry the paste in the sun and store in airtight containers.

Now, the Yummy recipe!

Breadfruit & Crab Rolls served with Guacamole Salad

Serves 4-6


  • 1lb (16 oz) crab meat
  • 1/2 lb (8 oz) cooked breadfruit
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon peel, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Wash and cut breadfruit into 8 slices, peel and core. Cook in boiling, salted water, just until soft. Drain the water and let cool.
  2. Heat pan and sautee the shallots, peppers, thyme and basil leaves until tender. Add crab meat, and grated lime peel. Combine well and remove from stove. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Mash breadfruit, then stir in the egg, lime juice and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Form into a smooth dough and let stand 5 minutes
  4. Roll dough into balls then pat out into flat circles and place a spoon full of crab mixture in the center of dough and fold in half to cover the filling. Pinch edges to seal and place in greased baking pan. Brush with little butter and BAKE in a pre-heated 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) until golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and serve on a bed of mixed salad greens and Guacamole Salad.
  6. To make the guacamole salad: combine chopped tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, cilantro, little garlic and ripe avocado. Season to taste with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve in a tomato cup made by scooping out the meat of a tomato.

    Buen Provecho!

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Spero News

  • by Chef Melissa
  • December 05, 2005
  • 12:44 am


Picture of Michelle Michelle said on...
12.05.05 at 03:48 PM |

Wow - really interesting information!  Do you just find breadfruit in the wild there?  You have such interesting ingredients to cook with!  I’ve heard of breadfruit before, but never tried it.  I think I need a trip to the tropics soon…

Picture of Melissa Melissa said on...
12.05.05 at 04:13 PM |

Michelle! Breadfruit grows wild in many Latin American countries: Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and most of the islands in the Caribbean and South Pacific.
Last week I went to visit my mom and she gave two plastic bags filled with fruta de pan (breadfruit seeds) already cleaned and steamed. I was so excited!!! I remember eating them when I was growing up,...just boiled with a little salt! Now, I am planning to make cookies with them for this Friday SoCalFoodie event smile

Picture of vlb5757 vlb5757 said on...
12.05.05 at 07:36 PM |

Melissa, I see that you are up and going again.  I am so sorry that you had problems with the computer.  It’s a real drag when that happens!  I have heard of breadfruit but have never eaten any.  Maybe the next time I am in Panama you can make some for me!  lol!

Picture of Melissa Melissa said on...
12.05.05 at 09:20 PM |

Vickie: almost with every computer I have had one problem. I took my previous laptop to a trip in the Swiss Alps and one night in a very charming little hotel there I had the great idea of plugging the laptop directly to the wall. OMG!!! Then, an explosion and the electricity went off, AND, of course my laptop was fried too.
Regarding your trip to Panama: would be fantastic if you can visit here! We have to plan that smile There are so many things to do, and so many things to learn—-You will love it!

Picture of Paz Paz said on...
12.06.05 at 07:51 AM |

Very, very interesting!  I’ve heard of breadfruit but never seen it before, much less know how to cook it.  Thanks for the interesting tidbit, Melissa, as well as the recipes!


Picture of Elvira Elvira said on...
12.06.05 at 08:53 AM |

Aprendi imenso! Obrigada, Melissa! grin

Picture of Eunuch Eunuch said on...
12.06.05 at 03:15 PM |

All I cna say is YUM.  Mouthwatering goodness.

I just wish I was able to cook right now…I SO miss my kitchen, but of course, I’m given everything in Iraq, including every meal, so it all works out

Picture of Melissa Melissa said on...
12.06.05 at 03:44 PM |

Dear Paz, Elvira & Eunuch: thank you for your visit! I think that the best part of blogging is that we can almost feel the fragrance of every tasty food post, ...we can almost put ours hands through the computer monitors and do the cooking, and the best part: we can almost taste every delicacy our food bloggin friends post! Isn’t that beautiful?

Picture of kelly kelly said on...
12.06.05 at 09:12 PM |

I have never seen this fruit before on my trips to Panama.  I will have to look for it the next time I go and visit my dad.  Where in Panama is it grown?  All over?  I bet that they probably sell it in that place in the city that is like a HUGE Farmer’s Market.  I always forget the name of that place!!!  You know, I bet that I probably have seen it but just didn’t know its name.  There are so many more choices and options there than we have here!

I love reading your posts by the way.  They are fun, delicious looking and they make me feel closer to Panama!


Picture of Melissa Melissa said on...
12.07.05 at 10:33 AM |

Dear Kelly, it grows wild…, one of my aunts has one breadfruit tree in her backyard. She lives in La Chorrera, a city 20-30 minutes from Panama City. I am sure they sell it in the farmers markets, but you have to look and ask for it. Some varieties look like guanabanas, so its better to ask if you are not sure smile Let me know when you are in town visiting your dad,...it will be fun to plan a farmers market tour! Will Sabina come with you?

Picture of brigitte brigitte said on...
12.07.05 at 02:16 PM |

i discored this fruit (vegetable) here in french guiana.
i like it fried or in “gratin”
they are XXL size here grin

Picture of Kelly Kelly said on...
12.07.05 at 10:10 PM |

  I will definitely let you know if I come.  It will be fun to know someone else in Panama.  I have lots of family over there but I really only know a few people well.  One of my Prima’s always gets assigned to me to be my guide.
  When I will come is still a mystery.  I am off in March but I think Sabi will have a tonsillectomy so - I am not sure.  I will only go with her.  She has only been once so she needs to keep going to know her family over there.
  I will be sure to e-mail when I come.  YEAH for making friends on the internet!  grin

Picture of kelly kelly said on...
12.08.05 at 11:15 PM |

Guess what?  I just talked to my dad and he said that he put a breadfruit plant and put it on his farm. I know where to find some now!

Picture of Melissa Melissa said on...
12.09.05 at 08:52 AM |

Kelly: that’s fantastic! Did he tell you which kind was: the seedles or the nutty one? You are going to have fun cooking smile

Picture of Homemaker .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
10.31.07 at 06:32 PM |

Dear Melissa,

I like yor blog.  It is the first time I am visiting.  I was just listening to one of our local call-in programmes in Barbados.  One caller said something that is true.  We don’t use our stuff and a lot of young women don’t know how to cook well and neither are they creative in the kitchen.  While that is debateable, what is true is that very few young women I know, mind you, I am in my thirties don’t want to do certain things,like for eg, making their own flour to cook with.  They find that reaaly time consuming at best because some of us are so busy and uneccessary at worse, because it is neither fashionable nor convenient.  Having said all that I would like to know how to make breadfruit flour and cassava and sweet potato flour.  Could you share a simple at home process for me. I do have a small mill that I grind my salt and linseed and other seeds with.  It holds about three to four table spoons at a time.  Not to worry , I am patients (smile)  I too am a professional woman.  I just have managed not to be a busy professional woman.

Picture of Ryan .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
11.22.10 at 01:58 AM |

Awesome…thanks for the great information. I have heard of everything before, but haven’t taken the time to go over anything. I will definitely use this information for the upcoming holiday season. I’m sure everyone will love everything that I prepare!

Picture of Nany Gomez .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
03.07.11 at 06:12 AM |

Breadfruit is normally eaten as a vegetable. It can be peeled and boiled, roasted or fried like potatoes, baked whole in the oven or barbecued. Wipe utensils with cooking oil to prevent the latex from sticking. Latex can also be removed
with eucalyptus oil. Breadfruit seeds are used in a similar way to jakfruit seeds. If breadfruit is allowed to ripen, the flesh becomes light yellow, very soft and very sweet. Ripe breadfruit is also used for dessert dishes.

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