Unlock the flavours of the Caribbean with a homemade Jamaican green seasoning recipe—hand-select fresh herbs and spices, blending them for a personalised masterpiece. Experience authentic Jamaican flavours that will bring joy to your table.
What is green seasoning and how do you use it
Green seasoning is a flavourful herb blend that originated in the Caribbean. Green seasoning is significant in Caribbean cooking, where the recipe has been passed down through generations. It typically consists of fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, and scallions and spices like garlic, ginger, and peppers. The specific herbs and spices used may vary depending on the island and the preferences of individuals and households.
In the Caribbean, green seasoning marries meat, poultry, or fish. Sometimes the green seasoning is spread on vegetables, potatoes, or tofu before grilling, roasting, or sautéing to give them a burst of fresh and herbal flavours. Additionally, you can add green seasoning to soups, stews, or sauces while cooking to enhance the dish’s overall taste.
What is Jamaican green seasoning
Jamaican green seasoning refers to the herb mixture that is specifically used in Jamaican recipes. While it shares similarities with Caribbean green seasoning, Jamaican green seasoning has its distinct flavour profile. Scotch bonnet peppers, pimento berries (allspice), thyme, scallions, garlic, onion, ginger and lime juice, are essential to achieving the classic spicy and savoury flavours of Jamaican green seasoning. By combining these ingredients, you can make an authentic homemade Jamaican green seasoning.
Jamaicans abroad have popularised and spread green seasoning by sharing their culinary practices and flavours with new communities. Jamaicans have adapted their traditional knowledge to the ingredients available in their new environments. Olive oil, cilantro, and parsley are ingredients adapted into Jamaican green seasoning, creating a variation of traditional Jamaican green seasoning.
Ingredients for homemade Jamaican green seasoning
- Scallion: Scallions, also known as green onions, help form the foundation of the seasoning. For a more authentic Jamaican flavour, use red scallion.
- Thyme: Thyme leaves give a nice aroma and flavour to the blend. Even though many Jamaican recipes use dry thyme, use fresh thyme for this green seasoning.
- Scotch bonnet pepper: These peppers give the seasoning its signature spice and heat. For the recipe below, I use one green scotch bonnet pepper. Adjust the pepper to how spicy you want the seasoning. Remove the seeds and membrane to reduce the heat, or use more than one pepper for a hotter seasoning.
- Garlic: Garlic cloves provide a strong and savoury flavour.
- Bell paper: Bell peppers add a slightly sweet taste, which helps to balance the heat. To keep with the colour of the seasoning, use green bell pepper.
- Pimento berries: Pimento berries (allspice) contribute to that unique flavour you love some much about Jamaican food. Using the actual pimento berries is better, but if it is not available, use ground allspice.
- Lime juice: Lime juice adds a tangy and citrusy element, brightening up the flavours of the seasoning.
- Cilantro and parsley: These fresh herbs provide vibrant green colours, making the seasoning look richer.
Cilantro and parsley are not typically grown in Jamaica but can be found in local supermarkets. However, for this green seasoning recipe, an alternative to these herbs would be Jamaican wild parsley. Wild parsley, also known as ‘shadow beni’ (shado beni), is native to Jamaica and is commonly used in Jamaican cuisine. Wild parsley has a similar flavour profile to cilantro but has a stronger and more pungent taste.
How to make Jamaican green seasoning at home
- Prepare ingredients: Wash the scallion, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, bell pepper, cilantro, and parsley. Remove the stems from the peppers. Peel the garlic cloves.
- Chop the ingredients: Chop the scallion, onions, garlic, thyme leaves, scotch bonnet pepper, bell pepper, cilantro, and parsley into sizes suitable for your blender or food processor.
- Blend or puree: In a blender or food processor, combine all the chopped ingredients. Add the pimento berries and lime juice. Blend the mixture until it becomes smooth.
How do you preserve green seasonings
The simplest way to store your homemade Jamaican green seasoning is in an airtight container in the refrigerator, keeping the green seasoning for 1 to 2 weeks. Green seasoning can also be frozen for approximately 3 to 6 months. Divide the seasoning into ice cube trays or small containers and freeze until solid. Then, transfer the frozen cubes or portions into a freezer-safe bag or container.
What can i use instead of green seasoning
If you don’t have green seasoning, substitute it with a pre-made seasoning mix. You can also season your food with individual spices like salt, pepper, allspice, thyme, and garlic powder. This method allows each flavour to stand out on its own. Take the opportunity to try out the various herb, spice, and citrus options that you have available.
Is green seasoning the same as Epis?
Green seasoning and Epis are both flavourful blends used in cooking, but they are different. Epis is a smooth paste used as a base seasoning in Haitian cuisine. Epis typically includes a broader range of spices like basil and celery, not in green seasoning. Green seasoning also has a loose or coarse mixture used for marinades and seasonings. Green seasoning is associated with Jamaican, Trinidadian, and other Caribbean cuisines.
Homemade Jamaican green seasoning
- 54 g (1.9 oz) Scallion
- 6 Sprig fresh thyme
- 1 Green scotch bonnet pepper
- 45 g (1.59 oz) Onion
- 4 Garlic cloves
- 10 g (0.35 oz) Ginger
- 57 g (2.01 oz) Green bell paper
- 16 Pimento berries
- 1 tsp Lime
- 2 tbsp Oil or water (optional) see notes
- ½ bunch cilantro
- ¼ bunch parsley
- Wash and chop all the ingredients in small sizes suitable for your blender or food processor.
- Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree or blend until smooth.
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