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Ackee fruit, in Latin “Blighia sapida”, is a fruit which...


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Ackee fruit, in Latin “Blighia sapida”, is a fruit which originated in the tropical areas of West Africa. Once imported in Jamaica, it became one of the main ingredients in Caribbean specialties, and it is also cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas in several parts of the world. This would be Jehovahs surprise fruit? I can’t wait for the new world where we will have an abundance of new foods to try.

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The fruit has some toxins and careful preparation is required.  Here is some information from cooksinfodotcom:

"Ackee is both a tree and the fruit of that tree. The tree is evergreen in the tropics, growing 30 to 40 feet tall (9 to 12 metres.) It is grown throughout the Caribbean as an ornamental tree; only in Jamaica is it grown commercially as a food item.

The fruit is red on the outside, turning bright red when ripe. Seams on the outside mark 3 separate pods of yellow fruit inside. The seams split wide open when the fruit is ready to be picked, exposing the seeds and cream coloured, spongy flesh around the seeds. Never open a fruit yourself; it has to have opened on its own on the tree, or it will be very poisonous to eat.

Each of the 3 pods inside has a large shiny black seed in it. Only the cream-coloured, fleshy pulp around the seeds is edible. The pulp looks somewhat like brains. Never eat any of the pink flesh, or the seeds, as they are poisonous.

In cooking, Ackee is treated like a vegetable, as opposed to a fruit. It is often cooked with salted cod fish and onions, in the dish called "Ackee and Saltfish", as in the Harry Belafonte song. Cooked this way, some say that it tastes to them like eggs; it is the contact with the fish that brings out this taste.

It is sold fresh in markets in Jamaica, and canned in brine elsewhere.

The sale of Ackee under any form, canned or fresh, was banned in America in 1970 (though individuals still smuggled in their own for personal use.) Faced with a growing tide of illegal importation, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided in July 2000 to set standards and to designate companies in Jamaica who could produce canned Ackee that they would deem safe for import. To be certified, the producers must, among other things, ensure that the fruit is neither unripe or overripe, and that no seeds, membrane or outer rind (which never stop being dangerous) are in the canned product. Out of the 16 canned Ackee producers in Jamaica, the first two to be approved in 2000 were Canco Ltd. and Ashman Food Products. Approved since then have been Tijule Company Ltd, West Best Foods Ltd, Southern Fruits and Food Processors Ltd and Island Packers Ltd (as of 2004.)"
 

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