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An Interesting Fruit - Jamaica’s National Fruit, Ackee!

What comes to your mind when you think of a fruit? I bet in most cases, it’s not a fruit that is required to be cooked before eating! Well, you better believe this step is required before enjoying this buttery complex fruit.

Jamaica’s National Fruit
Jamaica’s National Fruit, Ackee!

Ackee, Jamaica's National Fruit was introduced somewhere around the 18th

century to Jamaica from West Africa. This fruit is widely found across the island of Jamaica and is typically harvested twice per year.

The pod is sealed closed until ripened, at which time the pod splits open, releasing a toxic gas. Inside the pod, it reveals three to four yellow pegs. Each peg has a black seed on the top of the fruit. "History has it that the slaves wore the seeds around their necks as talismans for good luck". -

Michelle Rousseau & Suzanne Rousseau Provisions

Prior to cooking, you must prepare this fruit by cleaning. Most Jamaicans will use a small knife during the cleaning process. Twist the seed to remove it from the peg, use the knife to remove the thread-like substance from the center of the peg; however, if possible keep the pod whole.

1. Bring salted water to a boil; add the whole clean pods. You may choose to add thyme, as an optional seasoning.

2. Boil for 15-20 minutes until flesh turns a brighter yellow, soft and buttery in texture, while remaining firm. Cooking too long, will cause the Ackee to become mushy.-

Michelle Rousseau & Suzanne Rousseau Provisions

You may choose to combined cooked seasoned meat, such as salt fish or chicken with this fruit or combine with Callaloo as shown above. Non-Jamaicans often describe this savory fruit as resembling egg when cooked. The cooked Ackee is creamy and buttery in taste; the fruit is neutral, so it absorbs the flavor of what ever it is cooked with.

Jamaica's National Dish is "Ackee & Salt fish" - which growing up in Jamaica, you look forward to Sunday mornings, as this treat typically is served for breakfast on a Sunday. This dish is good all day at any time!

Here at Irie Jamaican Kitchen, we offer this dish as a veggie dish, which our vegetarian customers enjoy over a bed of white rice. Try it sometime and tell us what you think.

Look for the Ackee & Salt Fish coming soon to our menu!

Until next time - Irie and as we say in Jamaica, "walk good" (take care)!

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