The reason why Jamaican cuisine is so healthy is that it is made with many unprocessed foods, has a high content of fish and vegetables, and, most of all, because it is the best possible mix of what Chinese, African, European and Indian cuisines have to offer.
Ingredients commonly used
Scotch Bonnet Peppers
It is essential for Jamaican cuisine, mostly because of its distinctive flavor. Because it looks like a habanero pepper, it is often sold instead of the real deal. They come from the same family, they have the characteristic, thin, waxy flesh, and similar heat level. And, although the look is almost identical, the taste is not. However, the degree of spiciness, sometimes the same with these two species, varies with genetics, climate, or growing methods.
Also known as allspice, it is used to make jerk sauce. The wood was originally used to smoke jerk, in order to produce the characteristic flavor, but nowadays, the berries serve as a good substitute. It is used in sauces, pickling, and curry powders. It is also used in many dishes, including cakes and to flavor barbecue sauces.
Pimento is a good home remedy for upset stomach, crushed or used to make tea. Most people call the tree "pimento" and the berries "allspice" because it has the flavor and aroma characteristic of cloves, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg, all combined in one.
Coconuts are broadly obtainable in Jamaica and are consumed in a variety of ways. At early maturity it is mostly used for the refreshing beverage encased in the kernel. After the "water" is consumed, the flesh is spooned out and eaten. At full maturity, it is used to make oil. The white part of the coconut is crushed and the oily liquid is extracted and distilled by boiling in order to remove water leaving a residue of oil. The crushed-up coconut is then used in cakes and candy.
It is mostly eaten when roasted in Jamaica. In Leewards, they like it boiled, and in Grenada, steamed in coconut milk. It can be turned into flour and when ripe, it is used to make breadfruit pudding, cake, or punch.
It is a leafy vegetable very important in the Jamaican diet. Callaloo is rich in nutrients like iron and other minerals, vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin A. Callaloo has over four times the calcium, over two times the iron, and over two times the vitamin A compared to other vegetables.
It is often served with breakfast, lunch and dinner, sometimes, cooked with codfish, sometimes used in soups.