Did you know Ackee is a fruit?
The ackee fruit is bright red. When ripen, it bursts open to reveal black seeds and bright yellow flesh. Only the soft, creamy inner flesh of the ackee is edible, as the seeds of an unripen fruit – I have been told are poisonous, containing hypoglycin. But the poison dissipates when the fruit opens and is properly boiled. I was introduced to ackee by my Jamaican friends, but only finding out that it is indigenous to West Africa.
In Ghana, Ackee trees can be found mostly along the roadsides in certain areas that I was informed were planted about 20yrs plus ago by the Government for street shade. I am privileged to live by a street where there are an abundance of trees either side. But its only from the past few years that I even realised that they were Ackee trees. Most of the locals do not eat, or I am presuming unaware of the goodness as they sit and sell their wares. Locals that know about the fruit, often eat them raw.
Ackee is called Ankye in the Akan Twi language in Ghana
Every time I walk down the road I am seeing ackee scattered on the ground. Buy most of the trees are so tall. I have been fortunate for some vendors to collect for me as they fall by there stalls. In London a tin of ackee is very expensive and can costs from £7 (280g) tin. So now I just have to wait for ackee season and collect for free. You don’t know how happy I am. I also saw lots at the Dubois centre.
*strengthens immune system
*good source of vit C, iron, zinc, calcium
*contains potassium and magnesium
*aids in digestion
*helps to alkaline body
How to prepare
Once pod is open, remove black seeds from yellow fruit and rinse well. Place fruit in boiling water (enough water to cover ackees) with salt, and boil for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. sautéed with onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, spices, herbs and Scotch bonnet peppers. Gently stir as tender. In Jamaica, one of their national dishes is Salt Fish and Ackee and is eaten with dumplings and other accompaniments.
I often accompany my ackee with spelt dumplings and fried plantain – it is so delicious and tasty. Who would of thought ackee is a fruit when mainly eaten as a savory meal.
Have you eaten ackee? What is your favourite dish?
bless Sister E ( Naa Dzamah