(Image: Kaiton/Flickr)

“Mommy what’s that?”

“It’s ackee kk…”

“Mommy what’s ackee?”

These were the little questions my 4 1/2 year old daughter, asked me the morning I made Ackee and Saltfish for Christmas Day breakfast.

Ackee is a red pear-shaped tropical fruit that contains poisonous seeds inside.  No joke, the flesh of the ackee can be poisonous if it is unripe or overripe or cooked wrong.  The only edible part of this plant is the ripe, yellow fruit. It is ripe when the pod opens showing its beautiful yellow flesh.

Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica hence it being the country’s national dish, in Ackee and Saltfish.  Even though ackee is regarded as a fruit, Jamaicans often consider it to be a kind of meat that can be served with a staple or carbohydrate.  Due to its popularity, ackee can be found packaged in a can and found in specialty stores.  If you purchase the ackee from a can, make sure you get it from a reliable source. Make sure to always drain the ackee from the can water and rinse. Boil it in fresh water and rinse again. Then you can add it in your dish of choice.  Just beware that canned ackee can be expensive to buy, ranging from $12-$15 a 14 ounce can.

Have you ever tried ackee before?