Introduction to Jamaican Food

By: Jennifer Carter
The flavors of Jamaica are the product of the island's history combined with a verdant, lush climate. The Spanish, British, African and East Indian have all had an influence over what is today a unique island cuisine made colorful by the many tropical fruits that thrive here.

The waters off Jamaica have always teemed with fish and seafood is the primary protein source for islanders. Snapper, grouper, sea bass and other reef a deep sea fish are caught daily by the many fishermen whose boats line the beaches. Spiny lobster, shrimp and freshwater crustaceans are readily available and cooked usually in a thick sauce.

Chicken and goats are well suited to the small mountainous island and are kept by many families but cattle are rare and beef is not the predominant meat.

Many of Jamaica's fruits, including pineapple, mango, banana and avocado were brought to the region by slave traders and plantation owners experimenting with crops. What were once sugar cane fields are now being used to grow fruits and ackee for export and domestic use.

Few other cuisines mix such a range of spices and tastes - sweet, hot and savory - as Jamaican cooking. Jamaican food wouldn't be the same without the spices, seasonings and colors from: Allspice, the pimento berry.

Among many of the spices grown in Jamaica is nutmeg, ginger, thyme, scotch bonnet peppers, which are integral distinct flavors of Jamaican cooking. The pungent thyme grows rampantly on the island and is found in the majority of Jamaican foods.

Favourite Jamaican foods are those for coconut cake, rum punch & beef jerky recipes. Real Jamaican food, when cooked with feeling, is a soul-satisfying experience.

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