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Breadfruit: a forest from one tree  RSS feed

 
Posts: 35
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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Near my project in the Dominican Republic, there is a ravine full of breadfruit trees. Or rather, full of one breadfruit tree. Every time I inspect what looks like a seedling or sapling, it turns out to be a root sprout. As we know, the true breadfruit produces no seeds (the similar fruit that does produce seeds is a different species, the breadnut). Now, there are several GIGANTIC breadfruit trees in this grove -- so gigantic, it is no longer possible to determine which one was the original mother tree. How long ago was it planted? This breadfruit grove is like the inverse of a banyan: whereas a banyan sends out wide spreading branches, and new trunks form as aerial roots descend from the branches, breadfruit does the opposite, sending out wide spreading roots, and new trunks form as shoots rise from points where those roots reach the surface.

So if you take the slow-and-steady approach, discussed elsewhere in this forum, you could have a food forest by planting just one breadfruit tree.

I love that breadfruit tree. She has provided me with so much free, energy-dense food. Once, as I returned home after a long day, I just had to stop and hug one of her younger trunks in gratitude. Of course I was filled with the desire to bring her home with me. A local friend showed me how to get started: we went to the old breadfruit forest, and he cut off a length of the mother root at least as long as the daughter tree is tall. I reserved a section where she could reach her full glory without interference -- one day, she will tower over the other trees.

In another thread, it was mentioned that the bulk of the human diet is carbs, and that carbs are hard to produce in sufficient quantities in food forest systems. Well, for projects in regions where breadfruit can grow, we have an exception. A fully developed breadfruit forest will produce lots of carbohydrate calories -- I am just one person, so it takes me two meals to eat one breadfruit.
 
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Posts: 1108
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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It wasn't until I moved to Hawaii that I learned about breadfruit. I don't know which varieties we have in Hawaii, but sadly none will grow at my farm location. I'm told that my elevation is too high. Luckily I have friends who have trees and I'm able to trade for breadfruits.

Breadfruit is quite good eating. We prefer it green, where it makes a super mock potato salad. But we also like it riper and fried for a dessert. But there are plenty more ways to prepare it.

Storing excess harvest is simple for me. I just pop the whole, unprocessed breadfruit into the freezer. No need to peel it, cut it up, or blanch it. Can't get easier than that.
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