The breadfruit, from its scientific name Artocarpus Altilis, is commonly known in Mauritius as the Madegone. This big spherical fruit that grows on a tree which can reach 15 meters high, is used to feed families in a number of ways, and weighs between one to two kilograms.
An elder told me that previously in Mauritius, breadfruit was cooked over wood fire, in a hole at the bottom of which the burning fire turned its epidermis marked with six-sided shapes centered on a thorny spot into a hue chestnut. Its usually firm cream-colored pulp became a nice, creamy and sweet paste.
Nowadays, breadfruit consumption varies in the winter season. Cooked in salted water, its chunks can be added to a stew. We then call it the breadfruit Kat-Kat. Others use it to make Shepherd’s Pie, mashed or even dough-fried breadfruit, that tickles the taste buds. It is the perfect substitute for meat.
Many benefits are attributed to this fruit. Gluten-free flour, sometimes with low-glycemic index, can be produced, bringing new flavors to dishes. Breadfruit flour is therefore similar to gluten-free flours obtained from rice, buckwheat, chestnut, millet seeds, corn, chickpeas, soybeans, coconut and quinoa.
But these advantages can also be tricky business as these flours can have a different impact from wheat flour. They absorb more fluids which requires measuring the amount of flour when baking cakes. It would necessarily have to be mixed with other flours as the lack of gluten does not allow the dough to inflate or stretch.
This high-fiber fruit is an energy booster, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Regular consumption is also beneficial to bowel function and it strengthens the roots and stimulates hair growth.
The dark, shiny leaves, are broad. They were once used to produce medication for sprains, strains, bruises, coughs, bronchitis, pharyngitis and asthma.
In Mauritius, one can easily spot a breadfruit tree. These abundant fruits are graciously offered in shared conviviality with neighbors. With no added preservatives, they are and remain what Nature generously has to give. Let us therefore use available plots of land to plant breadfruit trees. We will reap its fruits for our greatest pleasure. And that is the sustainability of our Earth and our environment.