Learning About Ackee

Many people who move from other parts of the country to Southern Florida may wonder what it is. Ackee is like the tomato, which is technically a fruit but is used like a vegetable. It is the national fruit of Jamaica, where it is cooked like a vegetable with saltfish.

There are several Ackee trees growing in the Food Forest which produce prolific amounts of the fruit. It grows on a tropical evergreen tree that’s native to West Africa, and also goes by the names achee, akee, and ackee apple.

Its fruit is fully developed, ripe, and suitable for cooking when the pods are bright red and they split open easily to expose the edible fruit inside. Jamaicans will often say that the fruit will “yawn” or “smile”—open naturally, on its own—before it’s ready to be picked from the tree. When the fruit opens, it releases a gas called hypoglycin. The pod opens to expose three or four cream-colored sections of flesh called arils underneath large, glossy black seeds. The arils are what you eat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: