Brosimum alicastrum, Breadnut, Maya Nut

Brosimum alicastrum

Breadnut, Maya Nut
Family: Moraceae
Origin: Tropical America
Big tree taller than 20 ftSemi-shadeFull sunRegular waterEdible plant

Brosimum alicastrum, commonly known as the breadnut or Maya nut, is a tree species in the family Moraceae, genera including figs, mulberries and jackfruit. This tree is found on the west coast of central Mexico and in southern Mexico (Yucatán, Campeche), Guatemala, El Salvador, the Caribbean, and the Amazon.

The breadnut fruit disperses on the ground at different times throughout its range. It has a large seed covered by a thin, citrus-flavored, orange-colored skin favored by a number of forest creatures. More importantly, the large seed which is enveloped by the tasty skin is an edible nut that can be boiled or dried and ground into a meal for porridge or flatbread. Breadnut is nutritious and has value as a food source, and may have formed a part of the diet of the pre-Columbian Maya of the lowlands region in Mesoamerica. It was planted by the Maya civilization two thousand years ago and it has been claimed to have been a staple food in the Maya diet. The breadnut is high in fiber, calcium, potassium, folic acid, iron, zinc, protein and B vitamins and is very high in antioxidants. The fresh seeds can be cooked and eaten or can be set out to dry in the sun and eaten later. Stewed, the nut tastes like mashed potato; roasted, it tastes like chocolate or coffee. It can be prepared in numerous other dishes. In Guatemala, the breadnut is being cultivated for exportation and local consumption as powder, for hot beverages, and bread.

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