Ackee

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Ackee fruit Blighia sapida

The ackee, also known as achee, akee apple or akee (Blighia sapida) is a member of the Sapindaceae (soapberry family), as are the lychee and the longan. It is native to tropical West Africa in Cameroon, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. It's 'Latin name', Blighia sapida honours Captain William Bligh who took the fruit from Jamaica to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England in 1793. The common name is derived from the West African Akan akye fufo.

Cultivation and uses

Although native to West Africa, the use of ackee in food is especially prominent in Jamaican cuisine. Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica, and ackee and saltfish is the national dish.

Ackee was introduced to Jamaica and later to Haiti, Cuba, Barbados and others. It was later introduced to Florida in the United States.

Ackee pods are allowed to ripen on the tree before picking. Prior to cooking, the ackee arils are cleaned and washed. The arils are then boiled for approximately 5 minutes and the water discarded. The dried seeds, fruit, bark, and leaves are used medicinally.

Toxicity

The unripened or inedible portions of the fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and hypoglycin B. Hypoglycin A is found in both the seeds and the arils, while hypoglycin B is found only in the seeds. Hypoglycin is converted in the body to methylene cyclopropyl acetic acid (MCPA). Hypoglycin and MCPA are both toxic.

The unripened or inedible portions of the fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and hypoglycin B. Hypoglycin is converted in the body to methylene cyclopropyl acetic acid (MCPA). Hypoglycin and MCPA are both toxic.

Ill effects occur only when the immature fruit is consumed. Clinically, this condition is called Jamaican vomiting sickness.

5 a day; fruit and vegetable portion sizes

We have recently started to take delivery of a weekly organic fruit and vegetable box which has of course heightened our interest in the 5 a day fruit and vegetable regime. This simple app will show you what makes up one of your 5 a day portions of vegetables. You'll be surprised how small the quantities are in some instances. You'll be able to eat healthier and feel all the better for it.

Select a fruit or vegetable from the picker below to see what its daily portion consists of

What are you waiting for? Pick your fruit and veg now!
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned Ackee
2 Globe Artichoke hearts
7 spears of tinned asparagus
5 spears of fresh asparagus
One third of an Aubergine/Eggplant
3 heaped tablespoons of barlotti beans
3 heaped tablespoons of black-eyed beans
3 heaped tablespoons of broad beans
3 heaped tablespoons of butter beans
3 heaped tablespoons of cannellini beans
4 heaped tablespoons of French beans
3 heaped tablespoons of kidney beans
3 heaped tablespoons of pinto beans
4 heaped tablespoons of runner beans
3 heaped tablespoons of soya beans
2 handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
3 whole bottled beetroot
3 whole fresh baby beetroot
2 spears of broccoli
8 Brussels sprouts
3 heaped tablespoons of butternut squash
2 handfuls of sliced cabbage
3 heaped tablespoons of shredded cabbage
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned carrots
3 heaped tablespoons of fresh carrot slices
8 florets of cauliflower
3 sticks of celery
3 heaped tablespoons of chickpeas
One fifth of a head of Chinese leaves
Half a large courgette
5 cm (2 inch) piece of cucumber
4 heaped tablespoons of curly kale
Half a karela (bitter melon)
1 leek (white portion only)
3 tablespoons of lentils
1 cereal bowl of lettuce (mixed leaves)
1 handful of mange-tout
3 heaped tablespoons of marrow
3 tablespoons of frozen mixed vegetables
14 mushrooms
2 tablespoons of dried mushrooms
16 medium Okra
1 medium Onion
3 heaped tablespoons of pak choi (Chinese cabbage)
1 large Parsnip
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned peas
3 heaped tablespoons of fresh peas
3 heaped tablespoons of frozen peas
Half a tinned sweet pepper
Half a bottled sweet pepper
Half a fresh sweet pepper
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned pigeon peas
3 heaped tablespoons of pumpkin
10 Radishes
2 heaped tablespoons of cooked spinach
1 cereal bowl of fresh spinach leaves
4 heaped tablespoons of cooked spring greens
8 spring onions
1 handful of sugar snap peas
3 heaped tablespoons of swede
1 large sweet potato
6 baby sweetcorn
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned sweetcorn
1 whole sweetcorn cob
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
2 whole tinned plum tomatoes
1 whole fresh tomato
7 fresh cherry tomatoes
3 heaped tablespoons of turnip
150ml glass of unsweetened vegetable juice
150ml glass of vegetable smoothie
1 cereal bowl of fresh watercress
1 fresh apple
2 heaped tablespoons of apple puree
6 halves of unsweetened tinned apricots
3 whole fresh apricots
Half an avocado
1 banana
10 blackberries
4 heaped tablespoons of blackcurrants
4 heaped tablespoons of blueberries
11 tinned cherries
14 fresh cherries
2 clementines
6 damsons
3 fresh dates
2 fresh figs
150ml glass of unsweetened fruit juice
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned fruit salad
3 heaped tablespoons of fresh fruit salad
150ml glass of fruit smoothie
1 handful of gooseberries
8 segments of tinned grapefruit
half a fresh grapefruit
1 handful of grapes
2 kiwi fruit
8 Kumquats
6 tinned lychees
6 fresh lychees
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned mandarin oranges
1 fresh mandarin orange
2 slices of fresh mango (5cm or 2 inch)
1 slice of melon (5cm or 2 inch)
1 nectarine
1 orange
6 passion fruits
1 slice of pawpaw (papaya)
2 halves of tinned peaches
1 fresh peach
2 halves of tinned pears
1 fresh pear
2 rings of tinned pineapple
3 tablespoons of crushed pineapple
1 large slice of fresh pineapple
2 plums
6 tinned prunes
3 prunes
20 tinned raspberries
2 handfuls of fresh raspberries
5 chunks of tinned rhubarb
2 heaped tablespoons of cooked rhubarb
2 satsumas
1 sharon fruit
9 tinned strawberries
7 fresh strawberries
1 heaped tablespoon of sultanas
2 tangerines
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
2 tinned whole tinned plum tomatoes
1 large fresh tomato
7 fresh cherry tomatoes
4 dried apple rings
3 whole dried apricots
1 handful of dried banana chips
1 heaped tablespoon of dried cherries
1 heaped tablespoon of dried cranberries
1 heaped tablespoon of dried currants
2 dried figs
1 heaped tablespoon of dried mangoes
1 heaped tablespoon of dried mixed fruit
2 halves of dried peaches
2 halves of dried pear
1 heaped tablespoon of dried pineapple
3 dried prunes
1 tablespoon of raisins
4 sundried tomatoes