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Date: 12 Jun 2023, Entry id: 1686547563-1

What is Akee?

Grow Your Own Food

Akee fruit on the branch

Q: What is Akee and how do you eat it? Is it a fruit or a vegetable?

A: Blighia sapida, commonly known as Akee, holds a special place as the Jamaican National Fruit. The fruit of this medium size, fast growing subtropical tree is used as a vegetable, is renowned for its delicious taste, vibrant red pods, and creamy texture. Akee is primarily grown in Jamaica and is an integral part of Jamaican cuisine. Its unique ripening process and the need for careful preparation make it distinctive.

The fruit starts off green and gradually transforms into a vibrant red hue when it matures. To enjoy Akee, the pods must be harvested when fully ripe, and the skin should be orange to red. They are then carefully opened, revealing three distinct sections: the creamy white or yellow flesh, the central seed, and a thin, dark membrane. The seed and the membrane are not edible, only the ripe yellow flesh is consumed, which has a soft, buttery consistency and a mild, nutty flavor.

Akee is often cooked and served in various traditional Jamaican dishes. It is famously paired with salted codfish, creating the popular national dish known as "Ackee and Saltfish." This dish is a flavorful combination of sauteed Akee with flaked salted codfish, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and spices. Akee is also used in stews, curries, and salads, adding a rich and distinct taste to the culinary preparations.

Beyond its culinary significance, Akee holds cultural and historical importance in Jamaica. It is believed to have been brought to the Caribbean region from West Africa during the transatlantic slave trade era. Today, Akee symbolizes national pride and is a source of cultural identity for Jamaicans.

Akee tree is fast growing and easy to grow. It will start producing within 2-3 years after planting.

Akee fruit on a plate

Akee fruit on a tree