I learned a lot about Ackee this trip after seeing much of the tree in different stages of bloom. This fruit is tantalizing as it opens, ripe with anticipation of the hands that will gently clean and separate the parts as anxious mouths water……..
The Ackee tree originated in West Africa and was brought to Jamaica, Ackee is the national fruit, Ackee and Saltfish the national dish.
Ackee does not taste anything like eggs, people often make that comparison due to its delicate consistency when cooked. In my opinion Ackee has its own richness and takes on the flavor of the seasonings and saltfish when cooked.
Ackee can be toxic to the digestive system, so make sure it is cleaned properly when eaten fresh, and if canned make sure to drain the brine completely.
Ackee should ripen and open naturally on the tree, or “smile and yawn” is what you might hear locals say.
Ackee must be cleaned before refrigerating or freezing or it will “spoil”! Travelers don’t waste your money, make sure you buy it fresh and pay extra for it to be properly cleaned if you aren’t sure how!
Ackee turns bright yellow when fully cooked, gently turn it once, maybe twice or you will end up with a pot full of mash, though edible, may be unpleasant to the eye.
Ackee can be eaten without saltfish, why else do you think vegetarians and vegans love it! But don’t be surprised if you see ackee and saltfish cooked with salt pork fried crisp like pancetta, I know what you might be saying, locals know this and love it!
Personally I love Ackee, fresh is definitely best and I don’t think I ever want to eat it from the can after tasting the cleaned pods straight from the tree!
Have you had Ackee? Drop me a comment and tell me if you like it, love it, or pass it. Don’t forget to like and share this post if you find it helpful to other travelers!