The Daily News, Friday. April 8, 1994
From our bountiful islands
come breadfruit, eggfruit
"And as they were eating, Jesus
took bread, and blessed it, and
broke it, and gave it to the disciples,
and said, Take, ear, this is my
Last weekend was Holy Week
and thousands of people in these
islands attended Church to break
bread and drink wine as par of the
However., there is a natural
bread that grows on a tree: bread-
It is believed to be native of
New Guinea and Indo-Malayan. In
12 A.D., the breadfruit spread to
such Pacific islands as Hawaii,
Samoa and Polynesia. It is said that
breadfruit was first seen by Euro-
pean explorers in Marquesas in
1595, then in Tahiti in 1606.
Between 1780 and 1786,
Jamaica experienced several peri-
ods of famine and plantation own-
ers then petitioned King George III
to import seedless breadfruit trees
to provide food for slaves.
In 1793, breadfruit plants were
sent from Martinique to St. Vincent
Before Capt. William Bligh's
second voyage to St. Vincent, he
loss 1,015 breadfruit plants on a bad
sea trip during 1787. In 1791, be set
out again with 2,126 breadfruit
plants to Jamaica.
Thereafter, breadfruit flourished
throughout the Caribbean and South
In the Virgin Islands, we know
breadfruit as breadfruit. In
Venezuela, it may be called pan de
ano; in Peru, mature; in Puerto
Rico, panapan or pana de pcpitas; in
Malaya, suku or sukun; in Hon-
duras, mazapan; and in Portuguese.
Throughout the Virgin Islands,
one can see breadfruit trees growing
mostly in backyards. However, I
a treatment for thrush. Leaf juice is
also used as car drops. Some cul-
tures toasted the flowers to rubon
Olasee the gums around an aching tooth.
Davis The Easter egg is also part of the
Easter tradition. I have no idea what
eggs and rabbits have to do with the
crucifixion and resurrection of
Our environment Christ. Certainly, rabbits do not like
eggs. Do they?
was told that breadfruit trees used However, there is a tree called
to grow wild in Estate Prosperity eggfruit. The Canistel or eggfruit is
and farther up in the mountains in native to northern south America,
the north side of St. Croix. but also grows in South Mexico.
These trees are not drought-tol- Belize and El Salvador.
erant;they will grow best with 40 to The first time I encountered this
60 inches of rain per year. tree was in 1984 at the University
The environment elevation, of the Virgin Islands Agricultural
humidity, and soil types influ- Experiment Station. Dr. Christopher
ences the tree growth. Ramcharan devoted part of his stud-
Dr. Christopher Ramcharan, a lea of tropical fruit trees to finding
horticulturist at the University of out if the tree will do well under the
the Virgin Islands Agricultural islands' environmental growing
Experiment Station, recommends conditions.
periodic application of a complete The fruit is round, with or with-
NPK fertilizer such as 10-10-10. out a pointed apex or curved beak.
Breadfruits can be picked when When green, the fruit is hard and
mature, as indicated by the appear- gummy internally. On the ripe side,
ance of small drops of latex on the the fruit turns lemon-yellow, pale
fruit. You can propagate breadfruit orange-yellow, or golden yellow.
is by transplanting, suckers which Beneath the skin, the yellow flesh is
spring up naturally from under the relatively firm and mealy.
tree. This fruit often has been likened
Such pests as soft-scales and in texture to the yolk of a hard-
mealybugs are sometime found on boiled egg. It is sweet, more or less,
the stems, fruits, or leaves of the and tastes somewhat like a baked
plants. Fungus and other diseases at sweet potato. The eggfruit can tol-
times infest the tree. If you have a erant a wide range of soils.
pest problem, the extension service Seeds should be planted within a
entomologist is willing to assist few days after they are removed
you. from the fruit. The plant has few
Breadfruit can be eaten ripe as a pests and diseases.
fruit or under-ripe as a vegetable. It For breadfruit recipes, contact
can be roasted, boiled, baked, Ramonita Caines at the extensior
stuffed or fried. service, 778-0246.
Breadfruit can be used for
medicinal purposes. In the Virgin Olasee Davis, who holds a mae
Islands, dried leaves are made into a er of science degree in range mam
tea without sugar for high blood agement and forestry ecology, is
pressure and heart trouble. Crushed St. Croix ecologist, activist qa
leaves are applied on the tongue as writer.