ackee (Blighia sapida)

  • Caution: Regard the ackee as poisonous without expert harvesting and preparation.
  • The ackee, also spelt akee, is the national fruit of Jamaica.
  • There are many local names for this fruit throughout the Caribbean islands.
  • Confusingly there is another different fruit with the same namethat occurs more in Barbados. See Ackee (ginnip)
  • This page refers to the Jamaican akee or ackee (Blighia sapida)
  • This is a tropical or sub-tropical fruit from West Africa.
  • It was imported into Jamaica in the West Indies as a consequence of the slave trade.
  • The fruit is only edible when fully ripe and opened on the tree. The unripe fruit is highly poisonous. Overripe fruit is also poisonous.
  • Only the aril, the fleshy part of the fruit around the seed is edible. The red fleshy bits where the seed joins the pod, together with any red veins, must be discarded as these are poisonous.
  • It is now widely used in Caribbean cuisine. Akee and salt cod is the national dish of Jamaica.
  • The fruit is is steeped in Jamaican history and culture and has been immortalised in the "Linstead Market" song. On the right is the clip for The Spinners rendition of this. I think that it would sound great when played by a Jamaican traditional steel band, only I couldn't find a suitable video clip.