Ackee and Saltfish, Ackee and Codfish

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Ackee and Saltfish or Ackee and Codfish

What you need:
1 dozen ackee
1/2 lb boneless salt cod
3 tablespoons oil
2 onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper skin finely chopped up
1 small tomato, chopped
3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 sweet pepper chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

How to do it:
Soak the salt cod in a pot of water overnight to remove most of the salt. If the cod is still very salty, boil in water for 20 minutes. Drain cod and cut or break into small pieces.

Clean the ackee. Remove the seeds and all traces of interior red pit from the ackees. Wash ackees several time then cover and boil until moderately soft. Drain, cover, and put aside.


Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the onions, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper, tomato, tomato paste and green peppers. Stir for a few minutes. Add the cod. Stir. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the can of drained ackee. Do not stir because this will cause the ackees to break up. Cook for a few more minutes then sprinkle with black pepper.

Best served with bammy, roast breadfruit, fried or cooked dumplings, or fried or cooked plantains, cooked yams and Jamaican sweet potatoes.

Some ackee aliases:

- Akee, achee
- Ackee apple
- Vegetable brain
- Akye-fufo from Ghana
- Ishin from West Africa
- Kaka from Ivory Coast
- Finzan from Ivory Coast
- Castanha from Brazil
- Arbre fricasse from Haiti
- Huevo vegetal from Panama
- Arbol de seso from Cuba
- Aki from Costa Rica
- Merey del diablo from Venezuela

Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and is borne in clusters on an evergreen tree. Its name is derived from the West African Akye fufo. The tree is not endemic to the West Indies but was introduced from West Africa during the 18th century. The plant was named Blighia sapida in honour of Captain William Bligh who in 1793 took samples to Kew Gardens in South London. Ackee trees are found across the island of Jamaica but the main producing areas are located in Clarendon and St Elizabeth. There are two bearing seasons: between January to March and June to August.

The fruit turns red on reaching maturity and splits open with continued exposure to the sun. Traditionally it is at this time that the ackees are harvested and the edible portion (the arilli) removed and cleaned in preparation for cooking. This delicacy is enjoyed by many at breakfast or as an entree. The canned product is exported to ethnic markets worldwide and continues to be enjoyed by both visitors to the island and Jamaicans residing overseas.

Consumers of the unripe fruit sometimes suffer from 'Jamaican vomiting sickness syndrome' (JVS) allegedly caused by the unusual amino acid components, hypoglycin A and B. In this regard it is recognized that the nutritional status of the consumer is important, since diagnosed patients generally show manifestations of chronic malnutrition and vitamin deficiency. Although JVS has resulted in some fatalities in the past with symptoms including vomiting and severe hypoglcaemia, nowadays such incidences are rare with the increased awareness of the necessity for consuming only ripe, opened ackees.

Levels of hypoglycin A in the ackee arilli peak at maturity but rapidly diminish to non-detectable levels in the opened fruit making it safe for consumption.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 January 2011 13:34  


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Jamaican Quotes

"Sweet nanny goat have a running belly". It's a blunt way of warning someone off temptation.