Breadfruit, what it is and why it would be a superfood against the climate crisis

Don’t be fooled by the name: loaves don’t grow on trees. TO grow on trees instead it is a large fruit with incredible properties breadfruit or, to put it in Italian, the breadfruit. Close relative of jackfruitis born on the plants of Artocarpus Altilisknown by the more common name of bread tree. But why is it called that and why according to some scientists it would be one solution to food challenges brought about by the climate crisis?

What is Breadfruit?

Despite the name of Albero del Pane, real bread has nothing to do with it. In fact, breadfruit is a starchy fruit seedless which in the kitchen plays a role similar to that of potato of which it also vaguely retains the flavor. The name of the fruit comes from the resemblance that the pulp assumes once the fruit is cooked and that remember the bread freshly baked. The breadfruit is particularly nutritious, so much so that it can be considered a superfood: composed mostly of water, it contains the 27% carbohydrates and 1% protein. Has a good energy valueis devoid of gluten and contains an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some varieties of this plant would be rich in antioxidants and carotenoids.

Where does breadfruit grow and how is it used

Breadfruit belongs to the same family as mulberry or fig and above all it grows South East Asian and in many islands of the Pacific and of the Carribean Sea where it was imported at the end of the 18th century and where it can go up to 21 meters high. The tree can bear fruit up to twice a year producing a “breadfruit” the size of a melon and weighing circa 3kg. Each season any single tree can produce up to almost 200kg of fruit.

In tropical areas people eat breadfruit for thousands of years. The most common techniques involve dishes based on breadfruit al steamed, roasted or fried. The fruit can also be made into farina for the preparation of desserts or fermented to extend its shelf life.

Why breadfruit can help against food insecurity

According to a study conducted by theNorthwestern Universitythe ongoing climate crisis will have a negative effect on most staple crops, including laughter, more and soia. According to researchers, breadfruit is especially resilient to climate change expected and suitable for cultivation in areas with high levels of food insecurity. Breadfruit trees are not only particularly hardy, they produce a huge amount of food each year with a minimal amount of resources.

A breadfruit tree for life

In some cultures it is traditional plant a breadfruit tree at the birth of a child to ensure food for life. It’s about a perennial crop, which does not have to be replanted after each harvest and which requires less energy, water and fertilizers than a traditional crop. As a tree, sequesters excellent quantities of CO2. According to the researchers there would already be a large swath of africa sub-sahariana where the breadfruit could come from imported and grown, thus providing an easy, plentiful and stable source of food for millions of people who live, and will live, in conditions of food insecurity.

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