Ackees galore on Clunie Road
If you are a lover of Jamaica's national dish, then you will certainly fall in love with Fitzroy Edmondson's ackee rack.
When THE STAR passed through Clunie Road, St Thomas, last week, the farmer was unpacking loads of the unopened fruit from several bags on to a mesh stand.
He promised that in a day or two, the pods would burst open and be ready for sale.
"A long time mi in the ackee business, but mi raise animals as well. When all of these open, we carry them and sell them to the factory who do canned ackee for exportation. This is one food people love whether dem live here or not, so we make a little money from it. Mi feel good to know say mi involved in a little business that can contribute to the economy," he said.
When asked if it is safe to eat unopened ackees, Edmondson stated that the fruit is quite harmless, once they are fit for picking.
He stated that unripe ackee fruit contains a poison called hypoglycin, so preparers must be careful to wait until the fruit's protective pods turn red and open naturally.
Once open, the only edible portion is the yellow arilli, which surround the always-toxic black seeds.
"We pick them and put them in the sun so the breeze and the sun will open them. We know when the fruits are ripe or fit for picking, because the inside looks different," he said.
Edmondson said the fruit is not just delicious when cooked, but makes a wonderful blend of wine, which boasts a smooth taste and is suitable for any occasion.
"Just as how you have guinep juice, there is also ackee wine. All you have to do is put the part that you can eat in a container with little sugar and some yeast and cover it up and leave it, and after a while you see the nice wine. If you all preserve it for a couple months, it nice bad," he said.