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
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.
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.
Ackee and saltfish, Jamaica's national dish.
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