Slavery was, is, and will always be abhorrent, barbarous, inhuman and inhumane; but there is no doubt that the diverse and flavorful Jamaican cuisine benefitted greatly from the Slave Trade.
Ackee is native to West Africa, and it is believed that the plant was brought to Jamaica on a slave ship sometime before 1778. The name is derived from the West African name “Akye Fufo”. The fruit’s scientific name Blighia sapida was given in honor of Captain William Bligh (The Mutiny on The Bounty) who transported the fruit from Jamaica to the Royal Botanic Gardens in England in 1793, and thereby introduced it to the scientific world. Ackee is now the national fruit of Jamaica and is one of the main ingredients in the popular dish “Ackee and Saltfish” which is the national dish of Jamaica.
The Ackee fruit grows on a large tree. The fruit is pear-shaped and as it ripens it turns from green to a bright red, to yellow-orange; then opens to reveal three large, black seeds surrounded by yellow flesh. Ackee fruit must ripen and open naturally on the tree before picking, otherwise it is poisonous.
Prior to cooking, the Ackee flesh is removed from the seeds, cleaned, and washed. The flesh is then boiled for approximately 30 minutes and the water discarded.
Ackee and Saltfish (recipe can be found in our Cookbook “My Favorite Jamaican Recipes”) is enjoyed by Jamaicans for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The Ackee fruit is processed in brine, canned and exported from Jamaica, so that it may be enjoyed worldwide! Find canned Ackee on our Jamaican Products page or in your favorite ethnic store. Try it… you’ll love it!!!