Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive


Jamaican cuisine is thought to be healthy because it is made with many unprocessed foods, uses smaller portions of meats, has a high content of fish, beans, and vegetables, and, most of all, because it is an eclectic mix of the best that African, European, Indian, and Chinese cuisines have to offer. Moreover, Jamaicans have always been aware of the relationship between food and health. How else can anyone explain why some of the most highly rated medicinal herbs, e.g., ginger, garlic, all spice and hot peppers just happen to be the basic seasonings used.imagesCAFDU7TRcropped ackee jamaican gardening directions


The Jamaican ackee fruit is the national fruit of the island . It is also the main ingredient in Jamaica's national dish, Ackee and Salt fish. This is a popular meal and loved by both Jamaicans and tourists alike. This article gives all information about the Jamaican ackee, the cultivation, health benefits and other cooking and medicinal uses.


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. This delicacy is enjoyed by many at breakfast or as an entree. The canned product is exported to ethnic markets worldwide and continues to be enjoyed by both visitors to the island and Jamaicans residing overseas.

imagesackee jamaican gardening directions

Consumers of the unripe fruit sometimes suffer from 'Jamaican vomiting sickness syndrome' (JVS) allegedly caused by the unusual amino acid components, hypoglycin A and B. In this regard it is recognised that the nutritional status of the consumer is important, since diagnosed patients generally show manifestations of chronic malnutrition and vitamin deficiency. Although JVS has resulted in some fatalities in the past with symptoms including vomiting and severe hypoglycemia, nowadays such incidences are rare with the increased awareness of the necessity for consuming only ripe, opened ackees.

Levels of hypoglycin A in the ackee arilli peak at maturity but rapidly diminish to non-detectable levels in the opened fruit making it safe for consumption.

Studies [1] done in the Biochemistry Department at UWI, Mona on the fatty acid composition of the arilli from ackee have found that 51-58% of the arillus dry weight consists of lipids. Linoleic, palmitic and stearic acids were the major fatty acids observed with linoleic accounting for over 55% of the total fatty acids. These results show that the purified oil from ackee has high nutritive value and makes an important contribution to the fatty acid intake of many Jamaicans.

According to CFNI's "Food Composition Tables for the English-speaking Caribbean" (1998) the contents of a 100g serving of "Ackee, canned, drained" are as follows: Water (76.7 g), Energy (625 kJ or 151 kcal), Protein (2.9 g), Fat (15.2 g), Saturated fat (0 g) Cholesterol (0 mg), Total carbohydrate (0.8 g), Dietary fibre (2.7 g), Calcium (35 mg), Iron (0.7 mg), Potassium (270 mg), Sodium (240 mg), Zinc (1 mg), vit A -, thiamin (0.03 mg), riboflavin (0.07 mg), niacin (1.1 mg), total folacin (41 micro gram), vit C (30 mg).

imagesCAA7U3BF ackee jamaican gardening directions

Ackee & Crab Crusted Grouper
• 1 oz ackee
• 1 oz crab meat
• 1/2 cup rum
• 7 oz grouper
• 1 oz tamarind
• 1 stick cinnamon
• 1/2 oz onion
• 1/2 oz garlic
• 1 oz butter
• 3 oz plantain, chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Nutmeg to taste
• 2 tablespoon glace for sauce (this is a term for stock, can use stock or 2 Tbsp of instant gravy)
• Optional: 1/2 oz country pepper (similar to bell pepper but hotter)
• Optional: flour tortilla and lime to garnish

Steaming Liquor
• 1/2 cup of wine
• 3 oz butter
• 2 bay leaves

Jerk Sauce
• 1 oz ginger, freshly grated
• 1 branch thyme
• 1 Tbsp honey

Coconut Rundown
• 1/2 oz onion
• 1/2 oz garlic
• 1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
• 1 branch thyme
• 2 oz assortment of fresh bell pepper
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Optional: 1/2 oz country pepper (similar to a bell pepper but hotter)

Mix together half of the country pepper, and all of the tamarind, and cinnamon and leave to soak overnight in a separate container.

2. The next day, sear the grouper on both sides and set aside

3. Season ackee and crab with salt and pepper to taste

4. Add the rum and marinate the ackee and crab (marinate for 30 minutes)

5. Make the Coconut Rundown (see instructions below)

6. Use the Steaming Liquor to steam grouper: take some foil (8" square), butter this and place in the fish, add 1/2 cup of wine and bay leaves, close the foil and place in moderate oven (the grouper needs to sit in a small pool of cooking liquor within the foil)

7. Make Jerk Sauce (see instructions below); add rum to taste and add glace, boil (do not boil too much, this will make it salty)

8. In a separate pan sauté the onion and garlic, add plantains, butter, and salt and pepper to taste

9. To serve, splash plate with Jerk Sauce

10. Place plantain and onions on a plate with grouper

11. Pour Coconut Rundown over the grouper

12. Top plate with the ackee and crab mixture

13. Place plate under grill or broiler and brown slightly prior to serving

Coconut Rundown Instructions

1. Sauté onions and garlic and peppers

2. Add thyme; pinch your index finger and thumb together and pull the thyme branch between them, the thyme will come off the branch (no need to chop)

3. Add coconut milk and simmer

4. Add country pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste

Jerk Sauce Instructions

1. Mix ginger and honey together

2. Pinch your index finger and thumb together and pull the thyme branch between them, the thyme will come off the branch (no need to chop)

3. Add thyme to mix

Optional: Top with golden fried tortilla strips and lime.imagesCAFDU7TR ackee jamaican gardening directions



The Department of Chemistry, University of the West Indies,the

Created and maintained by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,


For Further information please visit

Please consult you health care provider before adding this item to your diet, if you  are uncertain how ths food might affect.  This article is general information and is not intended as medical advice.




We have 16 guests and no members online