Staple: This tropical fruit has been taken to the hearts of Jamaicans
Served in: Ackee saltfish and other fish dishes
Take care: an unripe or rotten ackee is a lethal weapon
The ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica. It’s also an ingredient in the national dish, ackee saltfish.
Beware – Jamaicans are prepared to take risks for their favourite dish. An ackee which is not fully ripe or is past it’s best is extremely poisonous. Eating an ackee at the wrong stage of development can cause sickness or even death.
Origins and History
Although it’s Jamaica’s national fruit, the ackee isn’t actually native to the Caribbean. It was brought over from West Africa on the slave ships in the 18th century, and has been embraced by the entire nation.
When an akee is ripe, it turns red and splits open, exposing the seeds inside and the fleshy, delicately flavoured aril – the edible segment. The aril has an appearance and texture of rather like scrambled egg. It’s often eaten with cod fish, sautéed over a hot stove with butter, onion and sweet peppers. If you take precautions when selecting and cooking your fruit it can make a safe and tasty dish.
Jamaica: Come Celebrate
Introduction to the food of Jamaica, from the site of the official tourist board of Jamaica.
Take a photographic tour of Jamaica, from Kingston to Montego Bay
Food of Jamaica : Authentic Recipes from the Jewel of the Caribbean, John Demers & Norma Benghiat