Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ackee and Me


Ackee is the Jamaican national fruit and I love it so much that I ate it everyday while I was on the island. An exotic fruit that's cooked as a vegetable, ackee is indigenous to West Africa and has been a staple in the Jamaican diet since the 18th century. The trees bear clusters of red fruit that burst open when ripe.


The ackee fruit features soft yellow flesh that resembles scrambled eggs and shiny black seeds. By itself, ackee has a rather bland flavor but when it is paired with saltfish, it's transformed into the Jamaican national dish, full of savory deliciousness.


Ackee and saltfish is traditionally served as breakfast but it can also appear as an entree anytime of the day. I started my day with a heaping plate of ackee and saltfish, accompanied by festival, fried dough that soaks up the flavor and makes the meal that much more tasty. Every morning, I sat on the veranda of my villa, gorging on ackee and saltfish and sipping fresh Jamaican ginger tea. I savored the experience because in the U.S., you can only buy canned ackee and it's not even close to the freshness of the just-picked fruit.


I felt compelled to stop and grab a close up view whenever I spotted an ackee tree in Jamaica. I would have picked the fruit but ackee is toxic until it's fully ripe. Instead, I cozied up to the tree, like the old friend that it is.

8 comments:

Paul said...

I'd never heard of this before. Fascinating. I want to try it.

Fly Girl said...

Paul, Ackee isn't very common outside of the Caribbean but you can generally find it served at Jamaican restaurants in the U.S. Thanks for dropping by.

Catherine said...

I love the things which are so central to a place they completely evoke it - looks like jamaica is turning into a great trip....Greetings from Nice

Fly Girl said...

Catherine, I always say you don't really experience a place unless you see it from a local perspective. Ackee is definitely a Jamaican local thing.

katie said...

Oh my gosh, Fly Girl you look SO beautiful in the flower print dress.

As for the fruit, you're braver then I! I'm usually so weary about trying new things food wise, although I know I should.

Fly Girl said...


Katie, thanks. I'm not a huge fan of trying unfamiliar and weird looking food either but I feel compelled to try local specialties when I travel.

A Cuban In London said...

I've had ackee and saltfish before from my local Jamaican takeaway. Love it.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Cubano, Ackee is wonderful anywhere but there's nothing like it fresh from the tree in Jamaica!