Kulo

Ark of taste
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The fruit referred to locally as kulo or rimas (Artocarpus altilis) is an endemic species in the Philippines belonging to the Moraceae family. Generally, this local variety is known – and confused – by its more common name “breadfruit”.

The breadfruit tree grows 12 to 18 meters high and has large, oval, glossy green leaves, three to nine lobed, toward the apex. The ripe fruits of these pistillate flowers are roundish, 10 to 20 centimeters in diameter, and greenish to brownish green and have a white, somewhat fibrous pulp. The kulo fruit is basically seedless and the flesh is creamy white to pale yellow in color. When the kulo fruit begins to grow, it is light green in color, but with time and ripening it reaches shades of yellow or orange. Fruits are typically mature and ready to eat or cook as a starchy staple in 15 to 20 weeks. During this time, the starch  turns  into  sugar  that gives  its sweet  flavor. The flesh of this fruit is very fibrous, is white to yellow in color and contains seeds that are edible. The fruit does not stay long after harvest, it takes only 2 days and it cannot be eaten anymore.

The kulo was cultivated as a bread substitute and is used to replace starchy vegetables, pasta or rice. Indeed, it was grown for its starch content. The fruit is most often consumed when it is mature, but it is still firm. The immature fruits can also be cooked together with other vegetables. After it is peeled and cut into pieces, it can be grilled, roasted or boiled. It can be eaten dipping in sugar, vinegar; or cooked into coconut milk; it is also an ingredient for sauteed mung beans.

Very few households preserve and maintain a breadfruit tree in their backyard, and mostly old people who cook and eat traditional vegetable continue to recognize its value. The breadfruits are picked and used for home consumption, cooked as vegetables and for merenda served for guests and visitors. The breadfruit trees are among those food trees not given much value. Instead, these trees are cut to give way to high value crops. Lack of knowledge in the preservation of the fruit is also one of factors why the fruit is not so common in the local market. To the extent that breadfruit is getting less and less recognized by younger generation especially those in the peri-urban and urban centers.

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