The Ackee Tree
by Ann Treacy
A rather interesting fruit, indeed. And, i am told, that if eaten before its RIPE, is poisonious!!
I believe that it is told that Sunday breakfasts in Jamaica usually consist of a medley of peppers, onion, spices, fish and the beloved island fruit called ACKEE.
Although it is a fruit, it is cooked up almost like a vegetable in a dish.
Dont be afraid of its bizarre look....when cooked it has the consistency of the softest, creamiest, buttery scrambled eggs.
Actually, sort of resembles them too. Basically, void of much flavour, it takes on the spices and food flavouring of whatever it is served with.
I happened to have the opportunity to try this tasty fruit many times and am now a lover of all things ACKEE.
You can purchase it in Ontario at any Caribbean grocery market, or some NO FRILLS stores.
I also replicate a recipe i learned in Jamaica called RASTA PASTA, where the stewed tomatoes, peppers, onion and spices are gently tossed with ackee and severed over pasta. My kids LOVE it.
During once visit to Jamaica, i had been there a week, and still was craving my beloved ACKEE, i searched high and low, to no avail.
In the market place down the road from Point Village Resort in Negril, i saw a sign above a food vendor that served ackee and saltfish. I thought i had died and gone to heaven. I salivated at the mere mention of the word!!
The nice lady explained that it was Thursday, and that the ackee dish was not available that day. I asked her when she thought she would be having it, as i was blessed to be on the island another 3 weeks and couldnt possibly leave without it.
I was willing to return to the market and her food stall any day at any time. Not only that, it was rather entertaining watching the local men play a lively game of dominoes. The crafts were incredible, and the music IRIE!
My question was WHEN???
She replied in her thick beautiful Jamaican accent, that i could have it for sure..... and that "the day the man goes up the tree and picks the ackee, that day she will have some for me...if he doesnt go up the tree that day...that day it will not be available".
I returned several days.... eventually i did get my ackee and saltfish, and yes it was well worth the wait....LOL
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