If we talk about the relationship of woody plants with people's daily food - bread, then we can not help but recall the species of trees that are amazing for us from the distant Sunda Islands and Oceania. This mighty perennial tree with a branchy crown from afar resembles our oak or chestnut. Botanists, on the other hand, found that it is related to mulberry and ficus, and, like them, it belongs to the mulberry family. It was called an artocarpus. The local population knows it under the name Kempedaka, yak, jakderevo, jackderev or breadfruit.
And this is no coincidence. On its strong branches, and even on a thick trunk, oblong cream-golden colored fruits often hang about a meter long and up to half a meter in diameter. Usually, they resemble a medium-sized pumpkin. The weight of some "loaves" of this amazing tree exceeds 20 kilograms. True, the smell of its fresh fruit is very unpleasant. They ripen extremely unevenly, so they can be harvested almost all year round - from November to August. Only from August to November, the tree is gaining strength, blooms, grows, to again start a long, fruitful harvest.
About 70 years annually breadfruit fruit. Each of them can feed one or two people, and five to seven trees fully provide food for a large family during the year. Bread fruits contain up to 60-80 percent of starch, about 14 percent of sugar and a little less than one percent of butter. Essentially, pastry ready to bake, even slightly flavored with butter. During the “harvest” period, the entire native population, from small to large, is employed in grain groves. The fruits are removed with sticks-slingshots, and then they are punctured with short pointed pegs several times, leaving them until the next day. At night, the pulp of the fruit begins to wander and sprout, like dough on yeast. By morning, it can be put into business or harvested for future use. For the workpiece, they dig holes in a meter deep and up to one and a half meters in diameter, the bottom and walls are covered with stones, and on top with banana leaves. The pulp released from the peel is laid, densely packed, in pits, and covered with leaves and stones. The dough does not lose its taste until a new crop.
© Forest & Kim Starr
Over time, when the process of fermentation of harvested fruits ends, the pit is opened as necessary, the necessary portion of the dough is taken, water, coconut oil are added to it and the mass is thoroughly kneaded in wooden troughs. Small, with our loaf, portions of dough, wrapped in fresh leaves, baked in ovens or on hot stones. The bread thus prepared almost does not differ in taste from ours. Wood bread is appreciated not only for its taste, but also as a medical and dietary product containing many B and E vitamins. Unripened breadfruit, which is baked in ash like potatoes, is also eaten.
Breadwood also has other valuable properties. From time immemorial, inhabitants of Oceania used bast fibers extracted from the bark of young breadfruit, their excellent yellow-brown wood was used for the construction of dwellings, male inflorescences served as a tinder or wick, milky juice completely replaced glue, and dry roots served as a medicine. Even the leaves of this amazing tree were widely used. Large, leathery, dark green in color, they have been decorating a tree for more than a year, and gradually falling, they acquire a very beautiful greenish-yellow-purple color. Polynesians make light, durable and elegant hats from them.
© Forest & Kim Starr
This is what the bread tree of the tropics is, whose fruits, according to scientists, were the forerunners of the present bread. One of the oldest trees in the world, it lived and bloomed in the distant Cretaceous period in Greenland and other now harsh regions of our planet, where geologists and paleobotanists discovered numerous prints of its leaves, fruits and flowers. It grew in prehistoric times and in our country. Now the breadfruit growing area is limited only to the tropics of the southeastern mainland of Asia and the many neighboring islands. In our country it has long been known in the greenhouse culture.
© Forest & Kim Starr
Used on materials:
- S. I. Ivchenko - Book about trees