According to Wikipedia, Breadfruit is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry and jackfruit family believed to be a domesticated descendant of Artocarpus camansi originating in New Guinea, the Maluku Islands, and the Philippines.
Breadfruit also abounds in different parts of Africa and Nigeria has an abundance of it. Having lived in an area where it grows, I mastered the art of preparing this nutritious meal from the comfort of my home.
As seen in the picture above, it comes in a very big and heavy bunch. The bunch falls from the tree after it gets matured enough for consumption and when this occurs, preparation processes begin.
There are two methods of extracting the seeds which are buried in the massive bunch (note that the seeds are the edible part of the fruit). The first method which is faster has to do with using a knife to cut the big bunch into different sizes and then using your hand to select the seeds; this can be done immediately. The second method of extracting the seeds which can take some time involves keeping the bunch for about a week and waiting for it to rot, when the fruit begins to rot, it becomes soft and upon pressing it you will be able to see the seeds.
The above methods are generally accepted and one can choose to adopt any. For the first method, after hand-picking the seeds, it is expected that the seeds will be slimy which warrants it to be washed thoroughly. The washing method here differs from the conventional soap and water style, here, you’ll be required to use sand (Sandy soil most preferably) to rub vigorously on the extracted seeds, at a point you will need to rinse off the sand, add fresh sand and repeat the process of rubbing the seeds with the sand until the slimy texture goes off. This is basically for people who used the first method.
For the second method, washing entails the same process of mixing sand, but this time it becomes more difficult because the seeds haven’t been extracted as compared to step one. What you need to do here is to take the rotten bunch, get a big bowl, put it inside, get some sand(Sandy soil preferably) and pour it into the bowl. After you do this, use your legs to trample upon it vigorously in the bowl, at some point rinse with clean water and repeat the process until the seeds are extracted from the rotten bunch and are no longer slimy.
When this is achieved, congratulations you have gone halfway with its preparation. At this point, some people can choose to fry the seeds(add only salt) and eat them like groundnuts, very nutritious and yummy as well, but some may want to get to the end of it which has to do with turning it into a meal.
So if you want to enjoy it as a meal, here is what to do. Take the seeds, rinse them, get a cooking pot and pour them inside. Add only water (that will be able to cover the surface), then place it on your cooking stand, stove or gas cooker. Make sure you do not allow it to boil for long so it doesn’t get ruined, immediately it begins to simmer, bring it down and separate it from the water.
Now you will have to remove the outer coat to be able to see the white part which is what people consume. Here you can use an engine to do the peeling, but hence we are focusing on home-made style, there is a method for this. Get a big bottle, like a wine bottle(round bottle), spread the seeds on a flat surface and gently roll the bottle over them with slight pressure. This will cause the outer brown surface to break and the white edible part will surface. After you are done with it, start separating the brown layers from the white seeds, when you’re done, trash the outer brown layer and gather the white seed in a bowl.
Yeah, stressful right? But we are making progress. Now gather the white seeds, wash them with water only and put them in a pot to boil. Allow it to boil for some time, so it will get soft. Following this, separate the water from the seeds, the water is quite nutritious and can be drunk by people around.
For the seeds, get oil, onions, seasoning cubes, salt, crayfish, pepper, other ingredients for cooking and mixed them with the seeds, then turn with a spoon or wooden turner. It has a striking resemblance to cooked beans and it is very delicious and nutritious.
Check the image below to see what it will look like after preparation:
In conclusion, this is just our style of preparing the meal, there may be other ways peculiar to different tribes or races. But from where I come from, Obingwa L.G.A in Abia State, Nigeria, this is how we prepare this nutritious delicacy. I urge you to give it a try.
You can reach out to me by dropping a comment on my blog via the comment session below in case you get confused along the line.