Ackee, (Blighia Sapida) also known as achee, akee apple or akee is a member of the Sapindaceae family, as with the lychee and is native to West Africa.
Ackee was imported to Jamaica from West Africa in the seventeenth (17th) century and since then it have become a major feature of various Caribbean dishes.
A pear shaped fruit but even though people cook it as a vegetable.
It turns green to a bright red to yellow-orange and splits open at the top showing three large black seeds, surrounded by soft, creamy white to yellow flesh when it ripens.
Even though the fruit is native to West Africa, ackee is popularly used in food especially in Jamaican cuisine. In fact ackee it is the national fruit of Jamaica, and ackee and saltfish is the national dish in that country.
Ackee is packed with vitamins and minerals, it is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin A, zinc, protein, vitamin C, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, folic acid, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, iron and is low cholesterol and calories.
The fat found in ackee is described as being healthy fat as it is not known to cause any sickness.
Ackee is known for its many medicinal purposes especially in Africa, Benin, and Jamaica which includes the treatment of colds and influenza (flu), conjunctivitis (pink eye), prevents the build of plaque and thus treats tooth decay, prevents constipation treats malaria and haemorrage.
The fruit of the ackee must be fully riped before consumption because studies have shown that it can be toxic, other health benefits of ackee is that:-
- The seeds extracted from ackee can be used in the treatment of parasites in the body like worms.
- The fruit can be consumed to lower fever when it is ripe.
- The skin of this lovely fruit can be used to treat ulcers.
- The leaves of the ackee can be crushed and made into a poultice and then applied to the forehead to relieve headache.
All the health benefits of ackee are not proven, but, it is a fruit, and we all know that fruits are important to our health and consuming ackee can be a big boost to the system.