What is Ackee?

Ackee is a very unusual fruit of Caribbean origin. Served with saltfish, it makes an amazing breakfast, says Caralien. Even when you see it cooked, it’s hard to believe it’s a fruit. “I had no idea what ackee was when I ordered it, and was still confused when the plate arrived,” says Caralien. “They were as bright as egg yolks, shaped like monkfish foie (melting in my mouth in a similar fashion), and so decadent.”

kayEx grew up with ackee and loves it, but notes that most people cannot reconcile the fact of it being a fruit with its extremely unfruitlike taste, texture, and appearance. “A lot of people who try it don’t like the mouthfeel because it is much smoother than eggs and they can’t get the egg thought out of their heads,” says kayEx.

True ackee lovers, though, face a supply problem. It’s hard to find it fresh in the United States, especially since it was formerly illegal to import (unripe ackee may be toxic, says Caralien). You can sometimes find canned ackee in ethnic grocery stores, but be prepared to pay around $15 a can—definitely worth it, says kayEx. And if you’re really determined to get fresh ackee, says Caralien, you can buy a tree and grow it yourself.

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