Caribbean seasonings are made from fresh, aromatic, flavorful herbs and spices. Certainly, most people think hot and spicy when they think of Caribbean cooking. However, there are so many other spices to complement the heat.
The bases for most Caribbean seasonings are made from a fragrant bouquet of fresh ingredients. We start with scallions, onion, garlic, thyme and peppers. Additionally, some fresh Caribbean seasonings add a taste of lemon, lime, ginger, turmeric, celery, culantro or cilantro. Above all the pièce de résistance is of course heat… specifically scotch bonnet peppers or other chili’s.
Of course we also include dry spices like pimento or allspice, nutmeg, paprika, cinnamon, curry, cumin and coriander. Here are a few of the seasonings that make island cooking so flavorful and delicious:
Fresh Caribbean Green Seasoning
Most Caribbean islands use some variation of a green seasoning. This version comes from my sister-in-law in Trinidad. She is a phenomenal chef who uses her green seasoning to flavor dishes for her clients. This green seasoning is scallion, cilantro, garlic, thyme, hot pepper and celery, and is great in meats and seafood dishes.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Jerk seasoning is a national treasure in Jamaica. In fact most households on the island have a version of Jerk seasoning. The foundation for Jerk seasoning starts with allspice (pimento), scotch bonnet peppers, scallion, thyme and garlic. In my version, I include some citrus along with other spices.
Sofrito is a base seasoning in many Latin Caribbean dishes. It’s a fresh island seasoning consisting of onions, sweet peppers, garlic, basil, celery and cilantro and a dash of vinegar. Sofrito is versatile and goes well with just about anything. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. I recently used it to make the most delicious breakfast sausage.
Any of these fresh island seasonings will leave your kitchen in aromatic heaven. Furthermore, the added benefit of using fresh ingredients in your home cooking is unbeatable. Look out for future posts with the full recipe for each seasoning.
What are some of your favorite fresh seasonings? Comment below and I’ll be sure to give them a try.