Ackee, also known as Ankye, Achee, Akee, Ackee Apple or Ayee is a beautiful evergreen tropical/subtropical fruit tree in the Sapindaceae soapberry family (same as Lychee and Longan and is native to tropical West Africa. The fruit turns red on reaching maturity and splits open with continued exposure to the sun. Traditionally it is at this time that the ackees are harvested and the edible portion (the arilli) removed and cleaned in preparation for cooking. Unripe Ackee fruit is not edible and ackee must be allowed to ripen on it’s own and split open before consuming.
Describing Ackee’s flavor is no easy task. Some say it has a texture of scrambled eggs and a somewhat sweet nutty flavor. It’s really interesting! Ackee fruit trees have grown deep roots in Jamaica, having earned its place as the national fruit, and the national dish; ackee and saltfish. Like tomato, Ackee is classified as a fruit but used as a vegetable in the culinary world.
Ackee is a highly adaptable fruit tree and can tolerate sandy soil, hurricane-force winds, oolitic limestone, and is drought tolerant. Young Ackee trees benefit from regular pruning when the threat of frost passes — Branches will only grow back stronger for it. In our experience, once your Ackee trees are large enough, they have really great success with propagating through air-layering.
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