I first learned about using the fruit ackee while studying for my Forks Over Knives certification– ackee is actually the national fruit of Jamaica. However, upon doing a little more research, I learned it is also one of the most dangerous foods in the world. Unripened, the fruit contains a poison called hypoglycin, which if consumed can lead to extensive illness, including coma or death. No big deal, right? Ackee, however, is very common in Jamaican cuisine and is especially popular when paired with salted codfish. It is so common now that I have actually found it canned at my local Publix grocery store.
So I made an ackee scramble. The fruit itself is very reminiscent of a scrambled egg – similar in texture, looks and even taste. So for the Vegan diner, ackee is an excellent substitute for eggs and can easily replace the tofu in a scramble. I have always loved a spicy tofu scramble in the morning but I have recently been avoiding soy- specifically tofu due to its high levels of estrogen. And ackee is more nutritious than tofu- ackee is packed with niacin, Vitamin C, potassium and iron. And while it does not contain the same amount of protein as an egg, it also does not have cholesterol like that of an egg. As a matter of fact, ackee contains no cholesterol but is packed with good fatty acids like palmitic acid (palm oil).
However, the fruit is not cheap – I paid $9 for a 19-oz. can. I found a few brands that were on sale at $18 a can. I also only found ackee that was soaked in a salt water brine so I avoided adding any additional salt to my dish.
After finding ackee at Publix, I picked up a can and decided to test its ability to mock a scrambled egg. And I was not disappointed with my ackee scramble. The fruit really does cook like an egg and pairs well with vegetables, herbs and spices. Very easy to work with.
Should you not be able to find ackee in your local market, you can either purchase it online or substitute riced cauliflower, firm tofu or real scrambled eggs into this recipe.
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Have you ever eaten something that was considered to be a dangerous food?
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