Ackee is a fruit that is mostly eaten cooked and has almost no taste at all. Ackee can only be eaten ripe as it is poisionous when eaten unripe. The color of the pod is reddish or orange. The fruit contain three large unedible large, shiny black seeds, surrounded by soft spongy flesh. The yellow edible flesh is known as the aril.

Ackee or ekee, with flower and leaves.

The seeds and pods must be discarded as they are deemed toxic. The white flesh is sold by this street vendor on Jamaica.

Two kinds of ackee

There are two kinds of ackee : the "butter ackee", that has to be cooked carefully , other wise it will become a kind of butter. and the more preferred "cheese ackee", that keeps it form during boiling.

akee on Jamaica

Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica, and ackee and saltfish is the national dish and typically breakfast. Dried salted cod is mostly used a saltfish and gives its taste to this cheap and often eaten dish. Boiled Ackee itself has almost no taste.

The use of Ackee in West Afrika

Ackee is a replacement for eggs and fish protein in West-Africa. Ackee is boiled and used in soup. Sometimes baked in oil.

Ackee as a soap

In some parts of Africa (Nigeria) soap is made from the ackee seeds, The crushed seeds are mixed with potassium (woodash) to form a poisionous soap.

Ackee as a wood

The strong wood of ackee is populair: it is used to make furniture and as construction wood. Ackee wood is resistent against termites.
Unripe ackee fruit in the backyard on |Jamaica. Once the fruit is ripe, it splits open and shows the black seeds, like can be seen on the right. The tree reaches a hight of 25 meters. This tree becomes large, so the childern have to climb in this tree to pick the fruit. They only collect the open ripe fruits , the "laughing" fruits as the are called. Ackee gives a large amount of fruits during the whole year, but even more during the winterseason.

Ackee is poisionous

Akee or ackee belongs to the family of Sapindaceae, trees that carry a poision. This poison are called saponins and causes the Jamaica-vomiting sickness. These saponins are also used as a soap, used for cleaning clothes. The saponines are neutralised by high temperatures.

ackee tree

This a large tropical tree that easy grows in every soil, even polluted soil. It can be found in West Africa, but is abundant on Jamaica , were it grows in backyards. The akee tree is very productive, and offering the a cheap source of protein (just like chicken eggs). The easiest way to reproduce them is to use cuttings from the roots.

ackee tree leaves

The tree has leathery leaves and large fragrant white flowers.