Feeling adventurous today? Are you ready to try something new and exotic? Here is another Jamaican love of mine … Ackee.
As they say here, “Ackee is to Jamaica as batty (buttocks) is to bench.” Adopted from the Ivory and Gold Coast of West Africa in the late 18th century, thanks to Captain Bligh, the ackee tree has become a familiar sight along local roadsides and can be found in almost every Jamaican’s back-ah-yahd.
As a matter of fact, I took this photo from the roadside not too far from where I currently live. They were high up in the tree though – thank goodness for power zoom lens! A little birdie told me there were lots of opened ackee pods on the lower branches but it seems like the locals had beat me to it.
It is important to know that only the yellow pulp of the ackee is edible. You will need to wait for the pods to turn red and naturally split open before picking. Never force them open as the immature fruit is poisonous.
Although technically a fruit, the ackee is treated like a vegetable. The pulp is usually parboiled in salted water and then lightly sautéed in coconut oil at which time it is oh so scrumptious! No wonder it’s a popular traditional breakfast item in Jamaica.
Ackee is rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C, and resembles scrambled eggs when cooked. Fresh ackees are not available away from Jamaica but you can get the canned ones from West Indian stores or the Caribbean aisle of your supermarket, which is just as good and tasty.
I had my share of servings this morning and believe me, I was not disappointed! Did you know that ackee is also the main ingredient of Jamaica’s national dish, Ackee and Saltfish? Here is the recipe …
My breakfast this morning!
Today is the day to try something new! Why not head out to your local West Indian store and pick up a couple cans. Life is sweet and so is ackee!
Martine ~ holistic nutritionista