Sunday, 15 February 2009

Peeking At Pika: Chataigne

C is also for Chataigne pays Chatenn Breadnut

I never realised until recently that we have chataigniers at Pika, as I always thought they were arbre à fruit a pain (breadfruit trees). The two are so similar I am still confused between them , so I was interested to discover that they are actually two varieties of the same species, the main difference being the chataignier has seeds. In fact, I had to get back to the latin names to find accurate details, and I discovered a lot of websites talk about one and mean the other!

[Just to clarify for those who are interested, the two trees are both Artocarpus altilis but the chataigne is the seminifera variety or the Artocarpus camansi. Wikipedia, usually a wonderful source of information, seems to have got the details wrong on this one so don't go there!]

Whilst the name translates as chestnut, it is not related and as you can see from the pictures, it is not the same as the chestnut tree that we are familiar with.
The pyramid shaped tree is full of beautiful glossy green leaves and the flowers from which the fruit grows most of the year round.The chataigne is a spiky case (the breadfruit is much smoother) and inside is full of seeds, which Papy carefully sits and removes, separating them from the mush surrounding them.

The seeds will be boiled by Mamie and then enjoyed as they are by the family. However I see that people also cook them with meat or in a curry.

Good for you

The chataigne seeds are a good source of protein, minerals and niacin and are low in fat, and they also contain animo acids. Unfortunately I am missing out on this goodness as I don't really like them!


Photos: All Pika unless otherwise stated

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