As a kid growing up in The Bahamas I never ate much breadfruit. During each breadfruit season, the distinctive “bumpy” green fruit would bear down trees all around our usual stomping grounds – between school and home – but seldom found their way on to our plates. We knew what they were and that they were edible and I even have vague recollections of eating it at some point (a bland memory), but it’s safe to say that breadfruit was not a regular part of our meals. We did make good use of them as balls for various games though, including dodgeball. Yes, they hurt.
That all changed when I moved to Jamaica a few years later. Just like in The Bahamas – and across the Caribbean in fact – breadfruit trees were plentiful – there was one in almost every yard in my Spanish Town neighborhood. Unlike in Nassau, however, my Jamaican kin made full and frequent use of the versatile “fruit” when in season – roasted, fried (salted), boiled – each remarkably delicious. (My favourite was fried and salted.) I spent many Saturdays picking then roasting breadfruit the traditional Jamaican way – on an “outside fire”.
Since returning to The Bahamas, breadfruit, still hanging on ample trees, has become just a passing reminder of a well-spent (and well-fed) youth in Jamaica. It’s been years since I’ve eaten it. Almost as many since I tossed one at a childhood friend’s head.