Picking breadfruit

ulu breadfruit 4 bucks a pound Whole Foods

If you are new at this, you might want to just buy your first few breadfruit. The peak is about Sept – Oct, and your odds are fair from about July til Dec. Spring is about the least likely time, but there are a few. These were at Whole Foods, and I’ve had fair luck at little roadside markets and Chinatown. Also little stores in Kalihi.

Ulu nice small tree closer

The other option (well, other than growing your own) is asking friendly neighbors. This is a nice small, well-kept tree, so you can bet the guy loves them. One family can easily eat all of these, but if you are lucky they will be willing to part with a couple.

To pick a tree like this, you need a picker. The easiest is a mango picker (a big dip net taped to a bamboo pole). A hook knife on a pole works, but you need a catcher. Expect a little comedy with this. Mike Y showed me a good tool for the catcher:  a cardboard box with a towel across it, or an old pillow for a little padding.  An ulu dropping from 20 feet has a little momentum. Then come the drops of latex. If you are willing to be the catcher the owner will often cut the fruit and give you a share.

ulu-ready-to-pick

When ripe and tastiest, breadfruit will usually turn a little yellowish and often have lots of old sap, sometimes quite brownish.

ulu-low-tree-04

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If you are very lucky your tree will have been expertly pruned to have very low fruit. Then you just need a knife to pick.

ulu-low-near-grass-04.

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This shot is a little out of focus, sorry. But with a squint you can see the fruit right down near the grass lawn. Picking ulu doesn’t get any better than this.

UluPickingKnifeCatchingBoxSapDripping2-08.

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Going back to tall trees, here is a box we were using to catch the falling ulu, a hook knife taped to a stick to cut, and a dripping cut stem.

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UluPreTrim3-1-08RayNancyStretch.

The most dependable way to get lots of breadfruit is to volunteer to help people trim their trees.  Here I am ready to trim Nancy and Dennis’ rather large ulu. (You can just use a bow saw instead of the deluxe Shindaiwa pole prunner, but that is a sweet machine.)

UluTriming3-1-08RayWave.

You can trim an ulu tree any way you like. You may need something to stand on. I often use a piece of pipe, between two crotches, or tied to the tree. Usually I just take some of the tall center out of a fruit tree, to make it easier to pick.

UluPostTrim3-1-08PearlRayDrip.

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Pearl and I goofing around after trimming. I was holding the two ulu a little suggestively, Nancy got the joke and said “You’re leaking”, then Pearl got it ….

Ulu stubby trimmed to small tree.

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Here is giant old breadfruit tree that is kept very small. However, by not letting the branches grow, this one rarely has fruit. Most fruit on most trees seems to be at the end of about 6′ branches, so I assume the new growth has to go that far to flower.

You usually get ripe fruit about 10 months after you trim (or give a big watering, fertilizing to get growth going).

UluPuaKane.

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The first flowers are usually the males.

UluPuaWahine

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Then the female flowers come.

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On to next page about cooking breadfruit:  https://raygrogan.wordpress.com/cooking-breadfruit/


3 Responses to “Picking breadfruit”

  1. [...] On to first page:  https://raygrogan.wordpress.com/picking-breadfruit/ [...]

  2. Mahalo, Ray…..a friend just let me know I might just have some ulu trees by this week!!!!

  3. I’m a Hawaiian surviving my 10th winter in Minnesota (been gone from Hawaii for 35 years). I just happened upon this post while nostalgically surfing the web. Ulu is one of my favorite foods and it has been so long since I’ve tasted it. The picture with the low-growing ulu tree made me miss Hawaii so much, more than I can explain. Thanks for the pictures and thanks for sharing.

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