Island Flavors: A Guide To Jamaican Breakfast Ingredients

A Guide To Jamaican Breakfast Ingredients

Chief among these is ackee (Blighia sapida). This West African fruit, which is poisonous until ripened, is now found throughout the Caribbean, but it is most widely consumed by Jamaicans, who prize its nutty, yellow flesh, as well as its symbolism. Historian B.W. Higman, in his book Jamaican Food (University of the West Indies Press, 2008), notes that the potentially deadly ackee was named the national fruit, in part, because it signifies the islanders' ability to change a negative into a positive. Back to Good Morning Jamaica »
Ackee's most common partner is saltfish, filets of cod or pollack that have been dry-cured in salt for the long journey from Canada or Norway, where the fish is caught. As once-plentiful fish populations have been depleted, this former slave provision has become an expensive import, increasingly used as a flavoring agent rather than a staple protein. Back to Good Morning Jamaica »
Saltfish is also paired with callaloo for breakfast. A variety of amaranth, this versatile leafy green is often steamed but is also eaten in morning sautes, quiches, fritters, and soups. Back to Good Morning Jamaica »
Chayote, which Jamaicans call chocho, is an equally common breakfast ingredient. The mild-flavored, pear-shape squash is chopped up for soups and sauteed with saltfish; Rasta chef Yvonne Peters-Hope uses it as a key ingredient in her vegetable run-up. Back to Good Morning Jamaica »
Dishes like these get a spicy kick from Scotch bonnet chiles, named for their resemblance to the traditional Scottish tam-o'-shanter. Back to Good Morning Jamaica »
Starchy vegetables, which Jamaicans call "ground provisions," are eaten as energy-boosting sides to breakfast's main dishes. Most of them, including green bananas, sweet potatoes, yams, and a type of taro called dasheen, are boiled. Back to Good Morning Jamaica »
But green, or unripe, plantains are sliced, smashed, and fried. Or they are mashed with coconut milk, brown sugar, and spices to make a hot cereal that Jamaicans call porridge. Back to Good Morning Jamaica »
Hominy --whole, dried, hulled corn kernels-- are also the basis of a luscious porridge. Back to Good Morning Jamaica »
Sorrel, comprising the crimson-hued sepals of a type of hibiscus flower, is brewed with ginger and sugar to make a sweet-tart seasonal drink. Back to Good Morning Jamaica »

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