"WHAT IS THAT BIG GREEN THING IN THE FRIDGE?" I asked.
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!"
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?