5 Common Herbs And Spices Used In Caribbean Food Recipes

Reflecting the deep and diverse history of the region, Caribbean cuisine is rich in flavours. Despite there being a wealth of native dishes, when it comes to Caribbean food recipes there are some staple herbs and spices that you’ll notice are almost always present. These herbs and spices are what create the bold flavours that the Caribbean is famous for. Such flavours are now enjoyed all over the world and are used to showcase the cultural importance of the Caribbean.

Herbs & Spices For Caribbean Food Recipes

Herbs and spices provide more flavour and enhance existing flavours in food and drink. Different cultures and regions have different herbs and spices they traditionally use and the Caribbean is no exception. We’ve put together some common herbs and spices you’ll find in Caribbean dishes (including our patties!).

Related: Caribbean Flavours For Plant Based Palettes

Allspice

Sometimes known as pimenta, allspice actually comes from a small berry. The berry is dried and ground to create the staple herb used in many Caribbean dishes. It is a prominent flavour in Jamaican jerk which is the sweet and spicy marinade, sauce, and dry rub seasoning commonly used all over the region. A common misconception is that allspice is a combination of spices, however this is not the case. This misconception comes from the fact that the spice berries taste like a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves once dried and ground.

Ginger

Fresh ginger root is one of the most common spices you’ll find in a Caribbean kitchen and arguably in most kitchens in the world. Ginger is used in a variety of cuisines and in fact drinks too – such as herbal teas. Although the spice is not native to the country, the spice is prominent in most dishes from jerk through to traditional ginger beer and the famous cocktail “Dark and Stormy” which features ginger beer and rum.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is sometimes known as “spice” or “hard spice” in the Caribbean. It is used in both sweet and savoury Caribbean food recipes. From chicken and lamb stews through to a topping for plantain. It is also found in traditional rum punch.

Nutmeg

Cultivated in the Caribbean, nutmeg is actually a seed which is dried and ground to produce the spice. Additionally, nutmeg is again found in a variety of food and drinks and has a strong fragrant flavour that works well to flavour sauces. Fresh nutmeg is usually grated in or over dishes and it can sometimes be added to bitter coffee to soften its flavour.

Paprika

Paprika is ground red pepper but it can come in many different varieties such as smoked and sweet. Sweeter paprika is usually the type used in Caribbean cuisine, both as a flavour and as a garnish. Alongside being visually appealing with its bright red colour, sweet paprika has a sweet peppery flavour which works well as a rub for chicken and other meats.

Looking For Jamaican Food To Buy?

Here at Island Delight, we take pride in showcasing these flavours ourselves through our Jamaican patties. Founded by Jamaican-born Wade Lyn (who missed the authentic Caribbean flavours after moving to the UK), Island Delight Jamaican Patties were born to shine a spotlight on the region’s mouthwatering cuisine. The traditional flavours of the Caribbean patties have remained the same and are based on family recipes. With the idea of appealing to the wider market, our patties are available in many leading supermarkets in the UK. Are you looking to try some Caribbean food? Why not get started today with our tasty patties, click here to find your nearest pattie retailer. 

If you would like to try our Caribbean food recipes, then explore our website today. Alternatively, call 0121 551 2772 to speak to a member of our helpful and friendly team.

If you have found this blog helpful, you may wish to read our previous blog: The Rise Of The Jamaican Patties

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