First things first: what the heck is a breadfruit? This tropical fruit grows on trees in the Caribbean, Central America, Polynesia and Africa. It resembles a jackfruit in outer appearance. Lucky for you, most varieties are seedless nowadays, making harvesting the fruit that much easier. The fruit is ripe when it feels slightly soft. If it gets too soft, you’ll notice how sticky and gooey the inside gets—just like bread dough. That answers where it got its name.
Restaurants throughout the Caribbean fry thin slices in oil and spices for a side dish that comes out looking much like a potato chip, albeit generally in more of a triangular shape than the spherical form. Cutting the pieces thin is key for proper breadfruit chip making! For a healthier version, skip the frying and go straight to the dehydrator. The recipe below instructs you how to harvest this sucker, in case it’s your first go with the fruit. If you’re a breadfruit veteran, you’ve probably made your own chips anyway, so this recipe will likely not be too helpful for you. If that’s the case, busy yourself with another regional fruit recipe here.
1 large ripe breadfruit, olive oil, sea salt, chili powder/flakes or paprika, brown mustard*
*This is just for dipping sauce, if you’re feeling experimental.
Serves: 6 people (depending on size of fruit)
- Cut the fruit in half lengthwise through the stem. Remove the core by cutting a V-shape around the center of each half. Now chop the halves into quarters to make for easier removal of the skin.
- Remove the skin. To do this, run the knife along the inside of the skin (as close as possible so as not to waste the meat of the fruit).
- Slice the fruit into quarter-sized pieces with about ¼” width. If the pieces are too thick, they won’t dehydrate well. For sections that are extra doughy, slice as best you can, then mush any unshapely pieces into thin globs. Use all the fruit—it’s too precious to waste! This means scraping off the goop on the cutting board and knife as you go along to form little breadfruit dough balls.
- Place on a sheeted rack in the dehydrator. You’ll likely have a lot of pieces, so fit as many as you can on a rack without them touching. Remember, air needs to be able to flow on all sides in the dehydrator!
- Dehydrate at 135ºF for 8 hours (or to your desired crispness—they are a delectable chewy treat as well!).
- Remove from racks and place in bowl. Coat with olive oil and desired spices. (This step can be done before putting in dehydrator, but when I did that the first time, I lost a lot of the spices through the mesh of the sheet. It just didn’t stick well and things got messy. This way works just as well and keeps the clean up a little easier.)
- Serve, eat, enjoy! Dip in the brown mustard for some added flavuh-flav. Store in cupboard in airtight containers.
*Another great dipping sauce idea: olive oil, sea salt, Italian seasoning, yeast flakes. Yummy!