Last week I ordered 12 cans of ackee
for $99.99 from a site I discovered. Their contact information is at the end of this article. Shipping and handling is free, and it arrived in only 3 days via USPS. The company is based in Florida, so I suspected they might be growing ackee there. The tin clearly states it is the produce of Haiti. Because it is grown and packaged in earthquake ravaged Haiti, it makes me feel good that buying products like this from their country might help their economy out. One can only hope.
If you are not familiar with ackee, it is the national fruit of Jamaica. It was introduced to the Island by the British about 300 years ago. It is native to West Africa. The fruit is cooked as if it were a vegetable - in fact it is often cooked with another fruit - tomato. It is my favorite breakfast, second only to Scrambled Tofu. What does it taste like? Sorry, I can't help you there, it doesn't resemble the taste of anything I know of, so it is indescribable. It does look like scrambled eggs, but that's only because it is yellow. All I can say is that ackee is very delicious.
Typically, Jamaicans will eat ackee with saltfish. In fact, the national dish of Jamaica is, you got it, Ackee and Saltfish. But we vegetarians omit the fish and just eat the ackee. It is delicious on its own.
Here is my recipe on how to make ackee.
What you need:
1 tin of ackee
1 medium to large onion
2 tomato's (or tomato puree as substitute)
Thyme (preferably powdered)
some garlic (optional)
*salt to taste
(*about 1/2 teaspoon - you can add more later to suit your taste)
First open the tin of ackee and drain the water out. Chop up the onions and fry them until almost brown. Now throw in the chopped up tomatoes and stir, cover over medium heat and let them get soft (about 3 min). Put in the garlic (optional), half teaspoon of thyme, about half teaspoon black pepper and salt. Now toss in the ackee. Stir it up over medium heat and let simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
I eat ackee with bread, roti or I sometimes fry up potatoes to eat with it.
Where to get ackee
The place I discovered is:
How is it different from the Jamaican ackee?
My mum sometimes treats me by sending ackee from Florida. I believe she gets it for $16 a tin. I live in California, and the closest place to buy Jamaican ackee is in Oakland, and I think the going price is $26/tin. So right off the bat this place is much more economical - $99.99 for 12 cans (with free shipping and handling) so it works out to be $8.33 per can.
But what about taste and texture? This can be subjective, but to me the taste is very similar to what I am accustomed to. Texture-wise there is a noticeable difference. This ackee is more firmer and thus I am inclined to think it might be more fresher. I'm no expert on ackee, but those are my final thoughts.
My cousin Mikey lives in Boca Raton and he is a bona fide expert on ackee. I will post his final judgement when he gets around to sampling this ackee.