The Ackee is the poisonous, pear-shaped fruit of the Ackee tree. When it ripens, it turns from green to a bright red to yellow-orange, and splits open to reveal three large, shiny black seeds, surrounded by soft, creamy or spongy, white to yellow flesh.
It is only the fleshy arils around the seeds that are edible; and only after the fruit has opened naturally. The remainder of the fruit and seeds are poisonous, and even the edible bits are inedible when immaturre and overripe.
Luckily, we don’t have to worry about when to pick the fruit as we can buy it canned. Most famously used in Ackee & Saltfish, the ackee is a common breakfast dish in Jamaica. That might make more sense to you if I tell you the fruit has the texture of scrambled eggs although with its own taste.
If you can’t find ackee in your local shops, give us a call or check out the Ya Man! Shop and we’ll help you stock up.
This is the national dish of Jamaica, often called the Jamaican Coat of Arms. It doesn’t sound too tasty, but as with everything else I say don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…
Fresh ackee is something I’ve never seen in the UK (which doesn’t mean we can’t get it here!) but luckily you can get it canned. Well-prepared ackee has the texture of scrambled eggs, and should not be overcooked or mashed.
- 1kg salted cod, boil to remove salt
- 2tbsp cooking oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 stalks escallion, chopped
- 0,5 Scotch Bonnet pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cans of ackees, drained
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a large frying pan, add onion, escallion, hot pepper and garlic.
- Fry over low heat until onion is transparent, then add fresh thyme.
- Add saltfish and fry, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, then add tomatoes and ackee.
- Toss gently so as not to break up ackees.
- Sprinkle with black pepper before serving
- Garnish with crisp bacon and/or chopped tomatoes if you like
Salted cod and canned ackee can be bought from well-stocked shops. If it’s not available anywhere near you, pop in to Ya Man! or give us a call and we’ll help you stock up.