Friday, July 23, 2010


When I arrived in Hawaii last Monday night, my husband and three of my children had already been there for a week. I followed them around as they proudly showed off our new little house. When we got to the kitchen I opened the refrigerator and saw this:

My husband said, as if it was no big deal, "It's a breadfruit. The kids picked it off the neighbor's tree."
The kids chimed in:
"They said we could!" 
"We had to hit it down with a stick!"
"They said we could eat it!"
Sure. Whatever.
The big green breadfruit lurked in the fridge for several days. I was tempted to throw it out.
Yesterday another mother in the neighborhood gave me a ride to the high school so I could register my older children for classes. I told her, "The neighbors gave us a breadfruit, but I don't know what to do with it."
She laughed. "You peel it and boil it, or you can wrap it in foil and bake it in the oven. Then just cut it up in chunks, like a pineapple. We call it 'ulu. It's very good."
So today I tried cooking an 'ulu. First I sawed off the scaly skin. After peeling it half-way I rested my sore hands and thought, "You'd have to be pretty desperate to want to work this hard to eat this thing."

Then I plunked it in the pressure-cooker pot and boiled it for half an hour.

It smelled good, sort of like baked acorn squash, but how would it taste?
I pulled it out with a fork and tried not to burn my fingers as I chopped up the starchy, spongy mass. Then I sampled a little bit. Wow! It was delicious! Just barely sweet and very satisfying. I had to eat my words - that thing was definitely worth peeling. It made a whole lot of good food.
Want to try some?


Kathy said...

Yes, I most definitely want to try some!! I remember a story about a family who had to choose between paying their tithing & eating. They paid, and on the way home from church a big breadfruit dropped right in their path, which became their meal for the day. I've wondered what you do with a breadfruit to turn it into food. Now I know.... Now if you could just figure out a less labor intensive way to peel it...

beth said...

Me! Me! I want to try some! That sounds really cool!

LeishaMaw said...

You make it sound so yummy. I'm jealous that you can smack it out of a tree.

How's Hawaii going?

elizabeth mueller said...

So do you have a little green lizard in your house yet? I think they're geckos? ;) Have fun, girl!

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

Hey Elizabeth! We've got lots of geckos in the house. They're kind of pinkish-gray and when they chirp it sounds like a laugh. When I build my sailboat I'm going to name it the Laughing Gecko.