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'ulu: the perennial hawaiian staple crop making a comeback

Posted: October 6 2020
Aunty Berta and Uncle Isaac of the Hawaiian 'Ulu Company (photo credit: eatbreadfruit.com)

'Ulu, also known as breadfruit, has a promising future for both healthy people and a healthy planet. This indigenous Hawaiian crop is making a resurgence thanks to the folks of the Hawai'i 'Ulu Cooperative:

"‘Ulu is one of the world’s few staple crops that grows on perennial trees, so it doesn’t need to be replanted every year. In fact, a single ‘ulu tree can live for 50 to 100 years or more and produce hundreds, even over a thousand, pounds of fruit annually! These large, majestic trees help to sequester carbon, reduce the need to till soil or control weeds, and their heat and drought tolerance make them a favored orchard crop in tropical communities most vulnerable to famine and climate change."

In addition to 'ulu's environmental benefits and abundance, it's an excellent healthy food source. It's high in fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals, replacing unhealthy starches. In the video below, registered dietitian Jodie Leslie Matsou and Dr. Carol Titcomb, pediatrician at the Waimanalo Health Center, explain what makes 'ulu such a uniquely good food and how this food is being reintegrated into the Hawaiian diet.

To learn more about the uses of this crop, including recipes and how to use every part of the 'ulu tree, check out eatbreadfruit.com.