Ackee: Blighia sapida

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Also known as Blighia sapida, Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and part of the national dish ‘Ackee and Saltfish’ (codfish), usually eaten at breakfast or brunch. Ackee is not endemic to Jamaica or the West Indies. It is from West Africa and was thought to have been brought on a slave ship in 1778. The fruit bears from January to March and June to August in clusters on an evergreen tree that can grow up to 50ft. The fruit has black seeds with a yellow or cream-coloured flesh encased in a yellow skin that turns red when mature. When it matures, it splits open and can be harvested. The arilli (edible portion) is removed and cleaned to be cooked. There are two types of ackee, one with soft, yellow flesh known as ‘butter’ and one with hard, cream-coloured flesh known as ‘cheese.’ Eating unripe ackee can make you ill.

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