Nancy D Valladares

Nature’s Poisons - Ackee Fruit: Deadly and Delicious
Via ( Nature’s Poisons )

In Jamaica, and other islands throughout the Caribbean, the ackee fruit grows on evergreen trees that can reach 50 feet tall (~15 meters).  The fruit itself are pods, grown in clusters, that ripen from green to red, and are harvested when the pod splits open.  Once open and mature, the seeds, numbering from three to five, are clearly visible.  Not all of the fruit is edible, though.  Only the fleshy arilli covering the massive black seeds are used.  The seed pod and seed are discarded.  The arilli are tender, so they are typically added to the dish last, and cooked through when the cream colored ackee turns yellow.

A typical recipe for ackee and saltfish, adapted from many on-line sources:

1/2 lb Saltfish
12 fresh ripe ackees** or 1 can, drained (read below for why)
1 onion, chopped
1 T of butter or oil
1  hot pepper (such as a fruity habanero)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
  • Simmer saltfish in water for ~20 minutes.
  • Drain saltfish, remove bones and skin. Flake.
  • Sautee onion and bell pepper in butter.
  • Make several slits with a knife in the habanero, add, and sautee.
  • Add tomatoes, saltfish, and fresh thyme.  Cook 10 minutes.
  • Add ackee, stir until cooked through and hot.
  • Season to taste. Serve.

* Habanero may be removed if too hot, or diced up if not hot enough.
* note: US copyright does not protect recipes or directions, so steal copy away.
** Some pre-cook ackee by boiling in water for 5-20 minutes to a desired “doneness” and texture, while others do so and insist it is to “remove the toxins.” Read below, but ripe ackee contains little Hypogylcin, but boiling can remove up to 85% of it. If you’re in doubt about your ackee, either don’t use it at all, or boil it (discarding the water). See ref. 5 for more info.