Updated: Mar 31
Do you know what I love more than mashed potatoes and gravy at Thanksgiving dinner?
'ULU (breadfruit in Hawaiian) MASHED POTATOES!
Recipe from the Farm to Keiki Book: "ʻUlu Mashers - Breadfruit Mashed Potatoes" Page 154
These 'Ulu Mashers are so creamy and delicious, you won't think twice about buying any imported, nutrition stripped potatoes for Thanksgiving ever again!
Thanksgiving and ʻulu season align perfectly, so adorning your dinner table with 'ulu is a Farm to Keiki must! They also coincide with the Hawaiian Makahiki season - a time for gathering, feasting and enjoying the abundance of the 'āina (Hawaiian for the "Earth" or "that which feeds or provides for us").
When 'ulu is in season, there is "choke" fruit (Pidgin Hawaiian for "a lot") and plenty to share! An 'ulu tree in a community means that no one is left without food to eat! In fact, a super cool organization called, "The Breadfruit Institute", is based on Kaua'i and distributes 'ulu all over the world in efforts to end world hunger!
What is 'Ulu (Breadfruit)?
'Ulu is a beautiful and large fruit tree that grows abundantly in Hawai'i (side of da road, schools, plenty of your friends backyards). Each tree bears about 20-50+ fruits (each 4+ pounds) and can feed your entire neighborhood for months! The tree was brought by the Polynesian people to Hawai'i on their canoes nearly 2,000 years ago. When it is mature, eat is like a starchy vegetable (like a potato) and when it is ripe, eat it like a fruit (best raw or baked - high in Vitamin C). Check out the Breadfruit "Meet the Plants" page for more info.
Where and How to Find a Bomb Big Beautiful Breadfruit?
Where to find:
1. Go on a walkabout or ask the coconut wireless to see who has an 'ulu tree in their yard. Guarens ball-barens (Hawaiian Pidgin for "guaranteed") they would love to gift you one since they are overloaded with fruits. If not, check out the farmers' market.
This is my Uncle Mark - owner of Mark White Lures (he makes the most amazing ceramic and wood fishing lures and epic fishing videos!) His farm home is on the slope of a valley on the south side of Kaua'i and he has some of the biggest 'ulu I've ever seen!
Photo Credit: my amazing Aunty Nancy
How to pick a good one:
2. Make sure you get a nice, big fat one! It should be SMOOTH (no bumpys), HARD (not soft) and possibly covered with drips of dried white sap. Low fruits can be picked by hand. Pick high fruits with a pole with a sickle on the end. If can, one person waits below to catch it with a cardboard box!
3. DON'T TOUCH THE SAP! The sap is extremely sticky (it is shown to be strong enough to be used as wood glue for canoes)! I sadly am a bit allergic to the sap, so best bet is to wear gloves or get someone to pick it for you!
Make sure to let the sap drain into the grass or on recycled cardboard after you pick 'um.
Let's Get Cookin'!
1. Steam, pressure cook, bake or roast in hot coals or in an imu (underground fire pit Hawaiian style). Check out page 152-153 in the Farm to Keiki Book here for a detailed cooking how-to!
2. Follow the recipe below (page 154 of the Farm to Keiki Book)
Love the Earth
Why make the effort to swap 'ulu for potatoes?
A few things I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving:
1. The Earth - 'āina. I am so grateful for the abundance of delicious food that you provide.
2. The indigenous people around the world and our ancestors. Thank you for helping build the abundance of flavors and resilient, delicious plants we use today. You teach us all how to live in harmony with nature. You have created the knowledge of how to grow, harvest, cook and nourish ourselves.
3. My family, friends and the Farm to Keiki ʻOhana! Thank you all who have come to support this first year of publishing my book, attending trainings and being my cheerleeders.
So in honor of the indigenous people and foods of Hawai'i, think about making mashed potatoes out of locally grown 'ULU instead of those 'ol imported potatoes for Thanksgiving this year! Literally old potatoes since Iʻm guessing they traveled about 2,782 miles from Idaho to get to Hawai'i)! Think of how much pollutin' fossil fuels it takes to get those potatoes to Hawai'i! Show the Earth you are thankful for the abundance it provides by using locally grown ingredients!