We have a rare ackee fruit tree at Hale O Kauka Healing Garden. It is an evergreen tree with an exotic and beautiful fruit. Native to West Africa it is now common in Jamaica and we have one here on Maui. I’m not sure how prevelent it is in the Hawaiian Islands but most of the locals here I find are unfamiliar with it but not all.
The ackee is golden and shaped like a pear when it first forms. It is poisonous at this stage. Once it ripens further it turns a beautiful rose red and splits open revealing three sections each with a dark round seed attached. The seeds are poisonous. But the meat of the fruit inside and attached to the seed is very much edible.
In Jamaica it is frequently prepared as a side dish to accompany fish.
The Ackee fruit is high in fiber, it is a polysaccharide complex carbohydrate which helps regulate blood sugar in the body. We believe the early doctors of Hale O Kauka Healing Garden planted it for use as a medicine to aid those with type 2 diabetes. This fruit also is a protein, similar to nut meat. It contains high levels of C and Zinc as well as folic acid, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphates and other minerals.
Eating this fruit could help improve, digestions, blood sugar levels, improve immunity, increase iron levels in the intestines preventing anemia and help build healthy bones and muscles.
Here is a video of Ackee being prepared by a Jamaican mamma.