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Top 5 Herbs and spices used in Jamaican cooking

Jamaican cuisine is known for its unique and delicious flavours, which is all due to the herbs and spices we use in our cooking.

herbs and spices used in Jamaican cooking

In Jamaica we use a lot of different herbs and spices in our cooking. Most of which are natural herbs and spices that grow locally.

As you come to learn about the way we cook, you will noticed that there are a few of these herbs and spices that is used in almost every dish.

Here are the top five most used herbs and spices in Jamaican cooking.

1. Pimento (Allspice)

pimento (allspice)
pimento (allspice)

You may know it as allspice but for us it is pimento, which is indigenous to the West Indies. Old records have shown that pimento (allspice) was first discovered on the island of Jamaica.

Trees grow widely throughout the island and Jamaica supplies majority of the world pimento (allspice).

The ripe berries can be eaten raw but because if its tangy taste is not consumed raw. The ripe berries is commonly use to make wine and other beverages that is use to remedy cold and flu.

The dried unripe pimento berry is used extensively in most of your favourite Jamaican cuisines.

Dishes such as jerk chicken, rice and peas, escovitch fish, Jamaican run down (run dung) and the famous sorrel drink wouldn’t taste the same without dry pimento berries. 

The dry pimento berry is also called allspice. This is because the berry contain characteristic flavour and aroma of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper.

2. Scotch bonnet pepper

Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper
Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper

The scotch bonnet pepper, who doesn’t know or haven’t heard of scotch bonnet pepper? This bad ass pepper is famous for its heat.

The scotch bonnet pepper is said to be one of the hottest pepper in the word. Measuring a wapping 100,000 – 300,000 Scoville Heat Unit (SHU). That’s approximately 292,000 times hotter than a jalapeño, which measure 4000-8000 SHU.

Apart from the heat, scotch bonnet pepper also have an unique sweet fruity flavour and aroma, which contributes to the great taste and smell of Jamaican cuisines.

Jerk chicken, peppered shrimp and escoveitch fish uses a lot of scotch bonnet pepper. These dishes are usually very spicy but also very addictive.

There are different spices of scotch bonnet pepper with different colours, shapes and sizes.

3. Jamaican Ginger

Jamaican ginger
Jamaican ginger

Compare to ginger grown in other parts of the world, the ginger grown in Jamaica is more pungent and aromatic making it one of the best quality ginger in the world’s market.   

The strong flavour of the Jamaican ginger have made Jamaican ginger cake, ginger biscuit and ginger beer  very popular products worldwide.

Just a small piece of ginger makes world of a different to dishes like curry goat, curry chicken and many more.

Jamaican ginger is also used to make tea as a remedy to relief stomach and headache and cold and flu.

4. Escallion

Jamaican escallion herbs and spices

Jamaican Escallion (scallion), pronounced ‘skallion’ in Jamaica, is known to grown only in Jamaica and the West Indies.

Scallion looks similar to spring/green onion except it has a reddish outer skin, which bears a resemblance to the red onion. According to foodies, the escallion have a stronger flavour than the green onion.

The escallion is used in almost every Jamaican cooking, no meat is marinated without it and soup wouldn’t taste the same.  

Escallion and thyme flavours compliments each other and are often used together in most Jamaican cuisines.


Jamaican Thyme, herbs ans spices

In Jamaica, there are over 100 varieties of thyme that is grown on the island. The most common type to use when cooking Jamaican dishes is the garden thyme.

Thyme is used a lot to seasoning meat, poultry and fish. Thyme is so versatile, you can place it in all most anything dish you are cooking.

We use it some much I can think off the top og my head, a dish that doesn’t have thyme in it.

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  1. Great presentation Can help me find a old Jamaican recipe I dont want the haltered one .I am looking for the old fashion Plaintain Tart..

  2. Raymonde McNally

    Hello my name is Raymonde McNally, I was contacted today by a tv show, asking me to come on their show to cook Jamaican food. I am originally from Jamaica and cooking is my passion, I am asking if you could be my sponsor for this thirteen week project, I would greatly appreciated it. thanks in advance for all your help.

    Raymonde McNally

  3. فیلم سکسی ایرانی

    5 stars

  4. I love Jamaican curried chicken therefore I am going to learn how to make it,

  5. I love my mom’s curry chicken.

  6. Hi Lesa do you have a ole receipt for ox tail? & Thanks for welcome me.

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