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Celebrating and savoring breadfruit in Hana, Hawaii
Celebrating and savoring breadfruit in Hana, Hawaii

Before I was asked to judge the breadfruit cook-off at Hana's week-long Festivals of Aloha in October, I had never actually sampled the fruit, a member of the fig family. Ulu, as it is called in Hawaiian, is a three-pound globe with green patchy skin, a cross between a potato and a banana. The noggin-sized fruit's tough exterior belies a starchy interior that is creamy sweet when overripe. The breadfruit tree, one of the "canoe crops" brought to Hawaii by Polynesian explorers, grows throughout Maui's lush mountainsides and has offered shade and sustenance for centuries. Because ulu grows so easily in the tropics and can be used as a starch or a sweet, its...

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