Akee fruit grows on evergreen trees throughout the year, It is found in West Africa, the Caribbean, southern Florida, and Central America. In jamaica, it is so revered as the national fruit. Jamaicans eat ripe ackee fruit as food and consider it to be a staple of their diet. However, unripe ackee fruit is very poisonous. It grows on a tropical evergreen tree native to West Africa, and it is also called the achee, the akee, and the ackee apple.
Because unripe fruit can cause poisoning, most ackee products have been banned from import into the US for the last 30 years. The US has just recently begun to allow the import of canned ripe ackee on a limited basis.
When the pods are red and easily split open, it indicates that its fruit is fully developed, ripe, and ready for cooking. Jamaicans often say that the fruit will “yawn” or “smile” before it is ready to be picked. The pod opens to expose three or four cream-colored sections of flesh called arils underneath large, glossy black seeds. The arils are what you eat.
how does the ackee taste?
Ackee is often described as scrambled eggs by people outside the Caribbean who are not familiar with it. While it’s very different from scrambled eggs, it’s not too far off. Despite its creamy texture and delicate taste, it has a slight bitterness at the end. When baked, some say it takes on an almost nutty flavor.
Health Benefits of the Fruit
01) May Lower Blood Pressure
Ackee’s high potassium content may act as a vasodilator, reducing the stress on your cardiovascular system and reducing your chances of developing hypertension and atherosclerosis (1)
02) Possibly aids digestion
As ackee may contain a high amount of fiber, it makes an excellent digestive aid because it enhances peristaltic motion in the gut, which leads to bulkier stools and an end to constipation. By moving food along, you may prevent bloating, cramping, constipation, and even inflammation of the colon, which may further lead to colorectal cancer. Dietary fiber can also help lower cholesterol and boost heart health. (2)
03) May Increase Bone Strength
Ackee contains a number of essential minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc, all of which may contribute to healthier bones and prevent bone loss and demineralization. A consistently high intake of minerals may slow, stop, or reverse the effects of osteoporosis, making us stronger as we age! (3)
04) May Boost Immunity
Ackee contains vitamin C, one of the most common vitamins found in fruits and vegetables. Ascorbic acid is rich in ackee, so it may boost our immune system by promoting the development of white blood cells and preventing chronic diseases and cellular mutations through its antioxidant properties. The body uses vitamin C to make collagen, which is necessary for the development of muscles, blood vessels, and tissues (4)
05) Protein Power Booster
The most important element of a healthy diet is protein, and getting it from a tasty fruit like ackee is even better. The building block of cells, muscle tissue, and other integral parts of the body, protein need to be replenished constantly. While ackee isn’t always praised for its high protein content, it might be higher than most fruits (5)
06) May Improve Heart Health
Ackee contains a wide range of beneficial fatty acids, such as stearic, linoleic, and palmitic acids. Unsaturated fats are the type of fat you need to improve your heart health and lower dangerous cholesterol levels. Probably by avoiding the most unhealthy saturated fats in your diet, you protect yourself against atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks, and coronary heart disease
Caution: Although this fruit has many benefits, it is highly toxic if consumed before it ripens. You should not consume an ackee fruit until it has opened naturally; that is when you know it is safe. Until then, it can cause “Jamaican vomiting sickness”, and in the worst cases, death. In other words, be careful where you purchase your ackee for the saltfish dish. (7)