Those of you who have been up to the farm in the recent weeks may have noticed this heavily loaded tree right in front of the porch. The bright red fruit is eye catching. As it ripens and splits open it turns even more exotic and alien looking. We were able to pick the first of the ackee crop last weekend.
Native to West Africa, ackee made it’s way to the Caribbean during the 18th century. It has since become a food staple in many areas, most notably in Jamaica, where it is the national fruit. Ackee is also known to cause the dreaded “Jamaica vomiting sickness”. Eating the unripe fruit (before it splits open) will cause you to become very ill. That is why it is essential to leave this fruit on the tree until it has split open. Have no fear, Good Moon Farm prefers not to force our fruit to ripen, the ackee is no exception to this!
The ripe ackees will make their way into our CSA boxes soon. Our favorite way to eat ackee is for breakfast. They make a shockingly good scrambled egg substitute (instructions below). If you’re feeling more adventurous, we recommend making the Jamaican dish, salt fish and ackee. Here is our recipe:
Ackee and Salt Fish
You will need:
a small piece of salt fish (about a 4×5 inch piece)
6 ripe ackee fruit
1/4 red bell pepper
1/2 small yellow onion
1/2 small tomato
3 green onions
2 cloves of garlic
fresh herbs (thyme/oregano)
Start the night before with soaking the salt fish. First, rise all of the salt off and then submerge in room temperature water to soak. Change the water at least once. In the morning, remove the salt fish from the water and place in a boiling pot of water. Boil until the fish becomes easy to flake using a fork (about 10 minutes). While the fish is boiling, remove the white creamy looking pieces from the red shell of the ackee fruit. Remove the seeds and discard the seeds and shells. Submerge is boiling water for 10 minutes.
Finely chop onion, pepper, green onions and garlic as you would for scrambled eggs. Melt the butter in a large skillet and saute your onions until translucent. Add pepper and garlic and saute until soft. By this time, your salt fish will be ready to drain and flake. Flake using a fork. When your ackee are finished boiling, drain and rinse with cool water.
Add in your fresh herbs, green onions and black pepper to the sauteed vegetables. Add in the salt fish and stir. If you feel that this mixture is too dry, add in a 1/4 cup of water. Add in your ackee taking care not to break them up too much. You want bites of ackee, not ackee mush. Taste and add hot sauce to your preference. Regular cooks will notice the odd absence of salt in this recipe. Trust us, the salt fish will add that for you!
For those of you wanting to simply use ackee as an scrambled egg substitute, follow the directions above without the salt fish (add salt!).
We served it with wheat toast. Fantastic!