Ever seen one of these?
If so, you’ve probably spent some time in a subtropic countryside.
The plant is a strange one. A single fruit is produced by this flower. I’d expect something different. Maybe it’s a pollination problem or opportunity for a beekeeper.
When ripe, the green fruit turns a pale orange-red and opens into three parts. Strange! Looking at the green fruit, I’d expect four parts, not three.
Inside, three shiny black seeds capped by a dull yellow flesh are exposed.
When green, this fruit is poisonous. But when ripe, the dull yellow flesh is removed and sautéed for a unusual, but delightful dish.
It’s Ackee! It’s found in Africa, the West Indies and prominently in Jamaica, where it’s a favorite food. In fact, prepared with a little salt fish, it’s Jamaica’s national dish.
But you won’t find it on many Florida menus. It’s just too exotic.
Julia F. Morton’s book, Fruit of Warm Climates has become a favorite read while figuring out what to do with some Florida land.
And she’s got more to say about Ackee or Akee.