With a global love of breadfruit increasing by the day we are finding more and more people are looking for information on how to grow this superfood. At the Breadfruit People we are working to pull together information and resources that cover all aspects of growing breadfruit starting from breadfruit varieties, propagation, farming systems, required inputs, expected returns, harvest and post-harvest handling.
Breadfruit is thought to have originated in New Guinea and what is today Indonesia and was spread throughout the vast Pacific by voyaging islanders. There are literally hundreds of known breadfruit varieties (cultivars) now present around the world with the highest levels of genetic diversity found in the Pacific Islands. The Breadfruit Institute which is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden began establishing its breadfruit collection in the 1970s with the vision of creating a definitive genebank of breadfruit and breadnut. The Breadfruit Institute is responsible for curating the world’s largest repository of breadfruit diversity with 150 cultivars conserved today.
Breadfruit varieties can be broadly classified as seeded and non-seeded and there is a range in fruit sizes, fruit colour and shapes between the various varieties. Different breadfruit varieties also vary in taste, texture, and nutritional composition.
Different varieties of breadfruit are not only distinguishable by their fruit but also by their leaves, tree size and shape. Different varieties of breadfruit have also become adapted to different growing conditions with some better able to withstand dry conditions and higher levels of salt.
For those intending to grow breadfruit for the backyard or a commercial crop, it is important to choose the right varieties to plant which should largely be based on what the intended use of the fruit will be. Breadfruit being grown for home consumption and local sales should be a combination of varieties that give you an ‘extended’ season and provide fruit that are desirable in terms of taste and texture. Breadfruit being grown for commercial purposes should be varieties that have the desired characteristics for that market i.e. breadfruit for fresh exports are generally seedless varieties which have a longer shelf life, breadfruit intended for processing are usually larger, more oblong fruit that make processing more economical.
Want to know more? Our friends at the National Botanical Gardens in Hawaii have this awesome resource.