Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Fruit That Tastes Like Eggs?

So I was taking progress photos of construction today when Lenard (our NPH representative onsite) told me that he had just learned of a new fruit that comes from the tree pictured above.

This isn't a completely rare occurrence for me on the site, we have nim, star fruit, a fruit that has almond-like seeds, mangos and bitter oranges among others.

But then he told me you can fry it with onions and it tastes like eggs! So of course I had to try it.

The fruit grows on the tree and when it falls and opens, it reveals soft light yellow pillows surrounding a shiny hard black seed. Pull those squishy sections off the seed and they have a cheese like texture in their yield to your bite and taste like a mild mushroom.

Lenard mentioned they're called 'Huevos de Yanquee' or 'Yankee Eggs'. Does anyone else know a different (possibly slightly more polite for anyone that speaks spanish) name?


Sean said...

Found this based on your verbal description and not the local name of the fruit.........it looks right, but it's just a guess.

Ackee, akee or achee - Blinghia sapida - is a food staple in many Western Africa, Jamaican and Carribean diets. There are two main varieties, hard and soft ackees, that are available for consumption. Both canned and fresh forms of this fruit are consumed. However, unripe fruit contains natural toxins called hypoglycin that can cause serious health effects. The only part of this fruit that is edible, is the properly harvested and prepared ripe golden flesh around the shiny black seeds. The fruit is poisonous unless ripe and after being opened naturally on the tree.

Hope this helps and BTW, keep up the good work for those children. You have my deep amdiration.


Nic said...

Wow! I'm sure that's what it is! Enlightening and scary all at the same time. Thanks Sean!

Anonymous said...

This is Ackee
Jamaicans eat it with Salted Cod

Life in Recipes said...

What a wild looking fruit! I've had Jamaican friends prepare it with salt cod, yes, that would be ackee.

Alejandra said...

How fun is that!? And the unofficial name is hysterical... Thanks for sharing!

Chantal said...

Yep, Sean pretty much got it. It's ackee.

After you clean it - remove the seed and the stringy like bits - you can boil it to soften it up a bit, I personally have found that when you boil ackee when you're ready to cook with it, you end up with mush, so if its a soft ackee, I just blanch them.

After blanching they can be frozen to be prepared later or cooked, I do not know why people compare the taste with scrambled eggs, how it looks, maybe, but certainly not the taste, I'm not sure how I'd describe it.

Yes, here in JA we usually have it with saltfish (salt cod) that's the national dish, but it can easily be combined with other things, after christmas there may be leftover ham. I love it with corned pork as well.

Basic preparation:
Saute onions (or escallion), tomatoes, garlic (some people may add sweet peppers, leave out the tomatoes, it all depends on preference).
Add the "meat" ham, bacon, saltfish if using any.
Finally add the blanched (and thawed had it been frozen) ackee, season with salt and pepper to liking.

We eat it with: fried dumplings (johnny cake), boil dumpling, yam, banana and a variety of other ground provisions.

Wow, that's alot about ackee., haven't had it in a while, wonder what it costs in the market now, will see this weekend.