Breadnut (Kamansi): Description, Flavor, Benefits, And Uses

Breadnut (Kamansi) is a tropical fruit tree native to Central and South America. It belongs to the family of Moraceae, and its scientific name is Brosimum alicastrum. The tree can grow up to 50 feet tall and has a dense, rounded canopy with wide spreading branches. Its trunks are normally heavy and gray and can reach up to 4 feet in diameter. Here is everything you wanted to know about Breadnut (Kamansi).

What is Breadnut?

Breadnut (Kamansi) is a large, fruit-bearing tree that produces starchy green fruits with unique characteristics. It is also known as “Chicle” in Spanish and “farinha de mandioquinha” in Portuguese. The tree is native to the tropical regions of Central and South America, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Colombia.

Breadnut Description

Appearance of Breadnut:

The Breadnut (Kamansi) tree is usually tall and has a dense canopy with wide-spreading branches. Its trunk is typically thick, heavy, and gray, with a diameter of up to four feet. The leaves are alternate, dark green, and oblong in shape. The flowers are small and white, with five petals and a yellowish center.

History and Origin of the Breadnut:

The breadnut (kamansi) is a tropical fruit native to the Caribbean islands of Central and South America. It has been part of the Caribbean diet for centuries and was likely brought to the islands by indigenous people. The plant belongs to the Moraceae family and is related to breadfruit and jackfruit plants.

Breadnuts have a hard, round shape, ranging from dark green to yellow. The texture is similar to that of cooked potato, starchy and fibrous. They are usually eaten boiled or roasted or used as a flour substitute in traditional dishes like cassava bread and porridge.

In recent years, breadnuts have become a popular superfood due to their high nutrient content and health benefits. They are often used in smoothies and juices or added to salads and other dishes for extra texture and flavor. Breadnuts are also becoming increasingly available in stores.

Health Benefits of the Breadnut:

Some of the breadnuts’ most notable health benefits include improving digestion, boosting immunity, strengthening bones, lowering blood pressure, and improving heart health. It’s also a good source of fiber, which can help with weight management.

Breadnuts are a great source of antioxidants, which can help fight free radical damage in the body and protect against disease. They contain plant compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids with powerful anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties and vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, E, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Breadnuts are also known to be beneficial for the skin. They contain essential fatty acids that can help nourish the skin, reduce signs of aging, and protect against environmental damage. The antioxidants in breadnuts can also help protect the skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Where are Breadnuts Grown and Harvested?

Breadnuts (Kamansi) are typically grown and harvested in tropical climates like Central America and the Caribbean. They’re also occasionally found in India and other parts of Asia. Breadnuts are usually planted in loamy soil with good drainage. Ensuring the soil is moist but not too wet to maximize yield is important. The trees can also be grown in artificial soil mixtures, such as potting and container mixes. 

The harvesting season for breadnuts typically runs from late spring to early fall, with the peak harvest period occurring during summer. During this time, the fruits ripen on the tree before they are carefully picked by hand. The shells of the fruits are then cracked open to get to the seed inside. Once harvested, the seeds can be sun-dried and stored for future use.

In addition to being grown in tropical climates, breadnuts have been introduced into some cooler regions with subtropical climates, such as Florida and California. These locations experience a different peak harvest season than tropical regions, as the trees may produce fruit year-round. The fruits in these cooler climates tend to be smaller and less flavorful than those grown in more typical tropical environments.

The trees are also planted and harvested for their timber, which has a variety of uses, including furniture making and construction. Breadnut wood is noted for its strength and durability, making it an excellent material for numerous applications.

Flavor Profile of the Breadnut (Kamansi):

The Breadnut (Kamansi) has a unique sweet and nutty flavor, often likened to a cross between chestnuts and sweet potatoes. The texture of the Breadnut (Kamansi) is also quite different, with a dry outer shell that breaks open easily to reveal a smooth and creamy center. 

When cooked, the Breadnut (Kamansi) has a light, fluffy texture, making it an ideal addition to many dishes. The Breadnut (Kamansi) is also high in essential minerals and vitamins, making it a nutritious choice for any meal. It can be boiled, fried, mashed, or roasted and enjoyed as a hearty meal. 

Where to find the best quality Breadnut (Kamansi)?

The best place to find quality Breadnut (Kansi) is in the tropics, where it grows naturally. In Trinidad and Tobago, breadnuts can be purchased from local markets, grocery stores, and roadside vendors. They are also available online in some countries. 

Harvested Breadnut

How to Store Breadnuts (Kamansi)?

Storing Breadnuts (Kamansi) is quite simple. All you need to do is keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Once the breadnuts have been harvested, they should be dried for about two days before storing them. Place the dried nuts in an airtight container or bag and store them in your kitchen’s cool, dry area.

If you plan to store the breadnuts for longer periods, keeping them in the refrigerator or freezer is best. This will help prevent them from going bad and make them last much longer. Check on the nuts regularly and remove any that have gone bad or show signs of molding. Properly stored breadnuts can last up to one year in the freezer and several months in the refrigerator. 

How can breadnuts (Kamansi) be used in recipes with other fruits and vegetables?

Here are some ideas for using Breadnut (Kamansi) when cooking with other fruits and vegetables: 

1. Stewed Breadnut (Kamansi): Combine cubed Breadnuts (Kamansi) with other fruits and vegetables, such as onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, and apples. Simmer in a pot of water or stock until the fruit and vegetables are tender. Serve over rice or couscous for a delicious plant-based meal.

2. Baked Breadnut (Kamansi): Cube the Breadnut (Kamansi) and add to a baking dish with other vegetables such as chopped bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and seasonings of your choice, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

3. Breadnut (Kamansi) Salad: Chop up cubes of Breadnut (Kamansi) and combine them with other fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and carrots. Toss with a light dressing of your choice and enjoy it as a refreshing side dish.

4. Breadnut (Kamansi) Smoothie: Blend cubed or mashed Breadnut (Kamansi) with other fruits, such as pineapple, strawberries, and bananas. You can also add some spinach or kale for an extra boost of nutrition.

These are just a few ideas for using Breadnuts (Kamansi) in recipes with other fruits and vegetables. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients to create your unique dishes.


Breadnut (Kamansi) is a unique tropical fruit with a sweet and nutty flavor. It is high in essential minerals and vitamins, making it a nutritious addition to any meal. Breadnuts (Kamansi) can be boiled, fried, mashed, or roasted and enjoyed as part of dishes such as stews and smoothies. When stored properly in the freezer, breadnuts can last up to one. Experiment with different recipes to make the most of this delicious tropical!

Mitch Baylis