Known as "uru" or "ulu," breadfruit has been a staple food of Polynesians since ancient times. According to a local legend, in times of severe famine, a man promised to rescue his family—he was determined to bury himself and grow into a fruitful tree. One day his wife couldn't find her husband. Instead, she discovered a breadfruit tree growing in front of their house.
So breadfruit is a big, light-green fruit with a thin pimply skin and cream-colored flesh. The fruit is considered ripe when the skin begins to exude drops of white sticky liquid. It has over 25 varieties (some sources say 35, and more): it occurs round, oval, smooth and rough—different. Typically, a breadfruit tree produces 600 fruit per year. Trees bear fruit year-round but two main fruiting seasons in French Polynesia are July to August and November to April.
In cooking breadfruit is used as a vegetable. Uru can be eaten raw, baked, fried, boiled, and used in pies and cakes. Fried or boiled breadfruit tastes similar to potatoes. Among Polynesia’s root crops it is closest in taste to cassava. In general, all parts of the breadfruit are usable: locals make canoes from its wood, the sticky juice is used for caulking canoes, and its leaves and bark are used for medicinal purposes. Back in 1769, the very Captain Cook was able to appreciate this versatile fruit when his expedition discovered the bounty on these lands.