All things Jerk!

All things Jerk!

Jerk seasoning/ sauce is a spicy concoction that is made (blended) and applied to food as a form of flavoring.

Origin: Jerk seasoning and the method of cooking was originated by the Arawaks (Tainos) who came to Jamaica in 1655, who later passed on the knowledge to African slaves. The jerk seasoning was made by combining natural and authentic spices grown on the island. The seasoning was then added to meat and slowly cooked over a wood fire.

Ingredients: Jerk seasoning is comprised of a variety of spices which includes- salt, pepper, garlic, pimento seeds, cloves, nutmeg, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, scallion, onion and ginger. Some individuals add additional spices to the mixture such as cinnamon. The jerk “rub” is then added to meat and left for a period of time (usually overnight) to marinate in order for the meat to absorb all the jerk flavor. Modern methods of cooking jerk (chicken/pork) is on a grill or in an oven.

Jerk is most common in the Caribbean, particularly in Jamaica where it is a permanent part of the culture. Jerk has made Jamaica well known all over the world where one can not speak of the Jamaican culture without the association of “Jerk” spices.

A video and recipe for making authentic jerk sauce/seasoning is coming soon. Stay tuned!

Ackee

Ackee

National Fruit of Jamaica:

Ackee is a fruit that is native to West Africa. The fruit is grown on a tropical tree and must be allowed to be fully opened before picking in order to prevent poisoning. The seed is discarded the fruit cleaned, and must be cooked prior to eating. Though ackee is a fruit, when cooked it is used as a vegetable. Its most commonly cooked and paired with codfish (otherwise known in Jamaica as saltfish) and is the National Dish of Jamaica.

Preparing Ackee: In a medium saucepan, mince and sauté onions, green pepper, tomato and garlic in vegetable oil. Add cooked and flaked codfish to the sautéed vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. Add cooked ackee to the mixture. Add black pepper, butter and 3 tsp of water to make gravy.

Ackee is commonly paired with fried plantains, fried/ boiled dumplings, yam, or even cauliflower rice for a more healthy option. It is a guaranteed menu option at all authentic Jamaican restaurants anywhere in the world.

Sorrel

Sorrel

What is Sorrel?

The origin of sorrel origin is traced back to West Africa and is a species of the hibiscus family. The plant is better grown in the spring, and can be harvested at the beginning of winter. The leaves of the sorrel plant has a prominent flavor and is high in oxalic acid, which gives it a bitter taste comparable with kale and spinach. The flower bud of the sorrel is bright red in color (similar to cranberries) and stains.

Sorrel is used to make the favorite drink of Jamaicans at Christmas time. The drink is made from the sorrel flower bud whether freshly picked or dried. The bud seeped in hot water and crushed ginger for 24 hours, strained and then sweetened with rum, strawberry syrup and sugar, and topped with pimento. It is often paired with the Jamaican black/ rum cake. The drink can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a year.

Sorrel is filled with vitamins A and C, which are good for the immune system.

Peta’s Tips n’ Tricks to baking

Peta’s Tips n’ Tricks to baking

Useful tips

  1. When baking, all dry ingredients should be mixed in one bowl, and all wet ingredients are better mixed in another bowl before combining together
  2. Remove the eye of the egg when baking, as this minimizes the rawness of the egg in the batter
  3. When baking, you can add an additional egg to batter for more fluffiness. You can remove one egg from the batter for more denseness. 
  4. Use a water bath when baking in order to preserve moisture.
  5. Once you put the batter in the oven, do not open the oven door for the first half of the scheduled baking time. This will prevent the batter/dough from “falling” and becoming flat. 
  6. When greasing a baking pan, use a pastry brush or wax paper to apply a thin layer of butter or shortening. Cooking spray can also be used. Sprinkle flour into the greased and tap on/tilt the pan in a circular motion until all corners of the baking pan is covered with the flour.
  7. For best result, place the baking tin in the center of the preheated oven when baking.
Callaloo

Callaloo

Callaloo is a leafy green vegetable that closely resembles spinach and collard greens. When sautéed with seasoning (onions, tomato, pepper and thyme) and paired with codfish, is a favorite Jamaican staple dish.

Callaloo can also be used to make/enhance many other dishes, such as callaloo quiche, callaloo pepper pot soup, stuffing for oven roast fish (see recipe page) as well as callaloo seasoned rice.

The nutrients of callaloo is a good source of iron, fiber and calcium.

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