Can the whole world get behind breadfruit as a superfood?

The World
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Breadfruit soup Horiz

Behold, the breadfruit. Will it be the next superfood?

Jim Wiseman/Saveur

Words mean a lot. Take for example the two words bread and fruit. Separately they don't conjure up controversy, but when put together — breadfruit — well then, a more complex meaning of the word takes over.

After all, breadfruit has an unsavory history.

It fed slaves in the 1700s as the British built their empire.

And it was the bounty Captain William Bligh and his crewmen were searching for when they sailed to Tahiti. (If you want to learn how the story ends, just watch one of the Hollywood versions of "Mutiny on the Bounty."

Breadfruit also conjures up a stark debate between those who love it and those who hate it. 

"People have all sorts of feelings about breadfruit," says Chris Colin, a freelance journalist in San Francisco. "Some hate it. It's the sort of overcooked Brussels sprouts of their youth. But others are passionate about it, they love it ... no one is neutral that I could find."

Since traveling to Hawaii to taste and write about breadfruit in the summer issue of Saveur magazine, Colin falls in the later category. He fell in love with the various ways it was prepared: breadfruit bagels, breadfruit in gnocci or hash, and breadfruit with a touch of syrup. 

The magazine's website also has an article on the creative ways chefs around the globe are preparing it.

Why now for a breadfruit comeback? "It's ridiculously healthy," Colin says. "It's high in fiber, antioxidents, calcium, iron, potassium. One fruit provides enough carbs for a family of five." 

In his article, Colin writes about his visit to the Breadfruit Insitute in Hawaii. Their aim is to not only preserve and collect the different varities of the fruit, but to send breadfruit plants around the world where they "can grow readily and where there are hunger problems." 

It's too soon to say how successful this initiative will be, as the trees have to grow, "but once they do grow these are huge trees that produce a lot of fruit ... so there's a lot of potential here."

Breadfruit with Ahi Carpaccio

Jim Wiseman/Saveur

Editor's note: The headline on this story has been updated from an earlier version.