When we’re super hungry, a cheeseburger pops up in our minds. But that’s not what a Jamaican would think of when hungry! In Jamaica, North America, it’s Ackee and saltfish! It’s their national dish. And although ackee fruit isn’t native to Jamaica (it grows in West Africa), the dish is prepared in an authentic Jamaican style. However, one must be cautious while working with this beautiful fruit.
You see, there are poisonous toxins in some parts of the ackee! But don’t worry, Jamaicans know exactly how to dodge those evil things. Ackee’s outer red cover, which looks like tiny bell pepper, opens up and releases some toxins when it is ripe. The fruit shouldn’t be plucked from the tree before this happens.
Once the red cover opens, you’ll see little blackish seeds inside. Was the fruit hiding these precious stones from us? No! Those seeds are the main villains. They’re toxic. We’re looking for the yellow pulp hidden behind the blackish seeds – the good part. The yellow pulp is then boiled and kept.
Saltfish is added to the boiled ackee, sautéed with veggies, and served fresh.