Spices are a key component of Caribbean cuisine. In fact, it is common to opt for fresh herbs and organic spices over artificial seasonings. This is because artificial seasonings tend to contain Mono sodium glutamate (MSG) – a food additive and flavor enhancer, which has been reported to cause certain adverse effects. Now, although there has been no definitive evidence to support these claims against MSG, herbs and spices, on the other hand, have many widely known properties. They also naturally enhance the flavor of most dishes, without the extra salt or additives.
Spices commonly used in Caribbean cooking:
Turmeric is a rich, bitter spice from the ginger root family. It’s one of the main ingredients in traditional curry blends. Hence, it used a lot in Asian and Caribbean cuisine. It also brings out the flavor in greens, soups, teas and even smoothies!
Nutmeg is a warm spice used in sweet and savory dishes. It works well in porridges, desserts, as well as creamy and cheesy dishes.
Pimento, otherwise known as Allspice, has an exotic flavor that does a good job at complementing black pepper in many dishes. Whether ground or whole, this West Indian favorite is a feature in Jamaican jerk rubs and marinades, as well as the classic Caribbean “rice and peas.” Pimentos are also a common seasoning for beef and pork.
Cinnamon is a sweet, fragrant spice that is often added to sweet and savory dishes; but mainly used in baked goods like cakes, puddings, biscuits, muffins etc.
Cumin is a warm spice used in many West Indian and Caribbean dishes. It is also popular in Mexican, East Indian and Middle Eastern Cooking. It is typically used in pork, seafood, rice, and bean stew dishes.
Curry is a blend of spices that is used in a number of island dishes, including curry chicken, curry mutton, as well as seafood dishes, involving shrimp and lobster.