The unpopular breadfruit is a staple food and source of flour

Carlos Andam By Carlos Andam, 29th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/xywf340h/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Rural Living

The breadfruit is a staple food in itself by just boiling or roasting as in sweet potato. It can however be developed as a major source of flour to reduce dependency on wheat flour importation.

“Bread of life”

Breadfruit is one of the most neglected fruit crops in the Philippines and hence the rarest to be found in the fruit stands or markets and even as a source of food. But this could be the key to solving hunger in many countries as it is a “bread of life” considering that it can be a staple food by just boiling like the sweet potato and can be processed into some other kinds of food items. It can be developed as a major source of flour. Otherwise known as rimas locally, it is an excellent source of food that is nourishing, wholesome and palatable for the Filipinos.

One important attribute of the fruit is its versatility in uses. The green fruit makes an excellent vegetable while the mature ones can be boiled, sliced and served with grated coconut and sugar. Rimas fruit when cooked resembles that of sweet potato in texture and taste. It can also be sliced and fried or made into candies or other preserves. The flour makes an excellent material for making cookies and other bakery products.

Citing the book of a Filipino author, Roberto Coronel of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños entitled, “Promising Fruits of the Philippines”, a kind of biscuit in Guam is made by slicing the fruit into moderately thin sections after cooking and drying the slices either in the sun or oven. This dried preparation that may last until the next fruiting season maybe eaten as is, toasted or ground, and cooked in various ways.

Local initiative on processing

In an island province of the Philippines, Marinduque fishermen roast the fruit and bring with them as their food when they go out fishing.

Flour is probably is the most important product that can be derived from the breadfruit. This is especially true in relation to wheat flour which is imported from other countries. It would save the country with dollars if breadfruit is popularized domestically as a source of flour. Wheat is not grown in commercial scale in the Philippines because of its specific climatic requirement.

In an island province in the Philippines, the Marinduque State College has started experimenting in substituting imported wheat flour with breadfruit flour in order to reduce dependency on importation and also developing new products from the breadfruit flour. Results of their study showed generally that up to 100% substitution maybe made acceptable depending on the bakery products. For bread like cupcakes, at least 50% substitution and for sweets like polvoron, at least 75% substitution was found generally acceptable based on a series of taste tests.

In their succeeding product development using 50% substitution, waffle and muffins exhibited highly acceptable ratings while leche plan was rated acceptable. Panganan, a native delicacy in Marinduque made from rice flour, had acceptable ratings when prepared from a combination of 50% breadfruit flour plus 50% rice flour. A 100% breadfruit flour for making cookies had acceptable to highly acceptable ratings.

Other major reasons for planting more

There are many other reasons why we should develop this fruit on a large-scale plantation.

One, while rimas is just an introduced fruit crop into the country, it is widely distributed all over the tropics and therefore could easily adopt under Philippine conditions. In fact, there are a number of backyard trees in the rural areas as evidence of its adaptability.

Two, there is no problem about cross-pollination as the rimas is seedless and there is only one variety ever known on record. Being seedless, it is propagated asexually and therefore true-to-type. Any differences in its performance in different locations are largely due to variations in soil and climate.

Three, rimas is a hardy tree, grows rapidly, bears fruit early and produces an abundance of fruits over many months of the year. It bears fruits in just 4 to 6 years from planting.

Fourth, other products can be derived from rimas. These include the milky sap that contains small amount of rubber. When the sap is exposed to the sun and air, it coagulates to form a gum that is used to make boats water-tight. The wood is also a good source of durables and richly colored lumber. Furthermore, its bark when decocted is used as medicine for curing dysentery, according to Dhames San Luna of the Bureau of Plant Industry.

With all of these attributes, one can easily conclude that there is a great potential for popularizing and commercializing the breadfruit in the country, either for staple, flour production, or other uses.

Tags

Bread, Bread Loafs, Bread Recipes, Breadfruit, Breadfruit Tree, Flour, Rimas, Staple Food

Meet the author

author avatar Carlos Andam
Agriculturist, researcher, professor and a freelance science feature writer.

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Comments

author avatar WOGIAM
29th Aug 2014 (#)

This fruit is popular in some regions in my home country, however I do not enjoy eating it.

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author avatar Carlos Andam
29th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks for your comment! we are hoping that the fruit will become popular here.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
29th Aug 2014 (#)

Carlos, what exactly does this fruit taste like? I'm curious to know. Thanks in advance for your answer.

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author avatar Carlos Andam
29th Aug 2014 (#)

Mature unripe fruits when boiled or roasted taste like boiled or roasted sweet potatoes. I have not tasted ripe fruits but i have eaten bakery products like biscuits, pastries, fries, etc.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
29th Aug 2014 (#)

I like sweet potatoes. Maybe I would like this. Where do you buy this fruit?

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author avatar Carlos Andam
31st Aug 2014 (#)

Nancy,breadfruit is found growning throughout Southeast Asia, South India and most Pacific islands and also found in Caribbean and in Africa. In the Philippines, we have trees found scattered around but one could not find fruits in the markets because we are in general eating or using the fruit & its only now that we started doing research about it. It may even be in your country and by the way from what country are you from? Thank you for your interest!

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
31st Aug 2014 (#)

Carlos, I'm from the United States. I think that this could feed a lot of hungry people. Before your article I had never heard of this fruit. Thanks for answering my question. Smiles to you!

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author avatar Nelio Palmenco
20th Nov 2016 (#)

Currently I am employed as an Agriculturist in the Republic of Marshall Islands where breadfruit used to be the staple food. It is still part of their diet specially when they ran out of rice. I plan to visit MSC to gather more info about this article as I would like to share this technology with the Marshallese in general and with Enewetakese in particular.

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