Scotch Bonnet Pepper

Jamaicans love to cook and when they do, flavor plays an important role.  Pepper is one of the main ingredients that Jamaicans use to flavor their dishes and Scotch Bonnet pepper is the pepper of choice for most Jamaicans and other Caribbean countries.

Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Jerk, a style of cooking meat that Jamaica is known for, also involves the use of Scotch Bonnet pepper.  In fact, Scotch Bonnet pepper is one of the main ingredients in Jerk seasonings and sauces.  Jamaicans also use Scotch Bonnet peppers when making their famous Escovitch Fish.  In the preparation of Jerk Chicken, Pork and Escovitch Fish, the Scotch Bonnet pepper is used for both its flavour and heat.  The Scotch Bonnnet pepper is also chopped or minced and marinated on meat over night or added to the food in the early stage of cooking.  The green unripe Scotch Bonnet pepper on the other hand is often used whole to enhance the flavour of soups and Rice and Peas dishes.

Rice and Peas with Scotch Bonnet pepper

Scotch Bonnet peppers are used to make famous Caribbean hot pepper sauces. Some of the Jamaican made hot pepper sauces are available for purchase on our website.  Hot pepper sauce can be used as a condiment. It can also be used to season meat, fish and poultry. If you are not a hot pepper lover because of the heat, you can use the pepper sauce in moderation for its flavor.

The Name

The Scotch Bonnet pepper is named for its resemblance to a bonnet, called Tam o’ Shanter hat.  The pepper is native to the Caribbean islands and Central America.

Varieties

Some varieties of the Scotch Bonnet pepper can ripen to red, orange, yellow, peach, chocolate brown or even white.  The white Scotch Bonnet pepper is very rare to find and usually has the most heat.

Bet you did not realise that the flavor and heat, as with any chilli, adapts to the region and soil it is grown in.  Thus, varieties will differ slightly in spice, sweetness and even shape. 

Taste

So what does a Scotch Bonnet pepper taste like?  The taste has been described as slightly sweet taste, a bit like a tomato with a hint of apples and cherries. This sweetness makes the Scotch Bonnet a very popular chilli for Caribbean cooking and hot sauces.  It is a really distinct sweet-heat flavor that a lot of people love.

The Scotch Bonnet pepper is very closely related to the habanero, so if you’ve tasted a habanero you’ll have a decent idea of what a Scotch Bonnet has in store for you in terms of heat.  But just add in more sweetness.

Heat Scale

In the Caribbean a pepper is considered hot if it ‘burns going in and burns coming out’.  However, there are 2 other scales of heat measurement, Scoville and American Spice Trade Association (ASTA). 

The Scoville Scale measures the concentration of capsaicin, the active compound responsible for pepper spice.  The capsaicin oil is extracted from the dried pepper and mixed with a solution of water and sugar to the point where a panel of taste-testers can barely detect the heat of the pepper.  The pepper is assigned Scoville units based on how much the oil was diluted with water in order to reach this point.

Tasters on the panel taste one sample per session so that the results from one sample don’t interfere with subsequent testing.  Even so, the test is subjective because it relies on human taste, so it is inherently imprecise.

Other plants produce spicy hot chemicals which can also be measured using the Scoville Scale, including piperine from black pepper and gingerol from ginger.

ASTA uses high-performance liquid chromatography to accurately measure the concentration of spice-producing chemicals.  

Heat Rating

The Scotch Bonnet is a hot pepper, rating 100,000 to 350,000 units on the Scoville Scale. 

In a field of natural and human engineered peppers the Scotch Bonnet rates 21 in ascending order of heat.  The number 1 is the Carolina Reaper, engineered by combining peppers from St Vincent and Pakistan. 

How to Stop Peppers Burning

Ever tried drinking water to reduce that pepper burn?  You will remember it did not work as capsaicin is not water soluble.  Did you then try drinking alcohol?  That only made it worse as the capsaicin dissolves in alcohol and gets spread around your mouth.

The capsaicin molecule binds to pain receptors, so the trick is to either neutralize alkaline capsaicin with an acidic food or drink, such as soda and citrus or surround the capsaicin molecule with a fatty food such as yogurt, sour cream or cheese. Now you know how to stop the burning, are you ready for a taste test?  Why not try cooking with the hot jerk seasoning paste.

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Jerk Seasoning

Jerk – What’s in a name?  Although Jerk can be a term for a lousy mate we are focusing on the culinary meaning of Jerk

No doubt you have heard the term Jerky, lean meat that has been trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried to prevent spoilage.  Cited as originating in the 19th Century from the American Spanish work charqui (translated to beef jerky or jerk), the term Jerk has a much longer history in Jamaica. 

Jerk is a unique Jamaican seasoning or marinade made from a combination of Pimento (also known as allspice or Jamaica pepper), hot pepper and other spices and herbs. There are two schools of thought about the origins of jerk. The first credits the Arawaks (Tainos), the original natives of Jamaica, with the authentic method of jerking. The other credits the Maroons with initially applying the technique to wild boar. The Maroon community was established in the 17th century by runaway slaves who lived in the rugged mountains of Jamaica.

There is an infinite number of jerk seasoning recipes, some with ingredient list a mile long.  However all jerk seasoning mixes must have three main ingredients in order to taste authentic: Pimento, Scotch bonnet peppers; and Thyme. Pimento is indigenous to Jamaica and is also the only spice native to the “New World”.

In Jamaica Jerking is the term associated with preparing Jerk meat. This Jamaican method of cooking involves placing highly spiced meat over a pimento wood fire and allowing it to cook slowly. It was a local option to salt curing which helped to prevent spoilage in the tropical heat. The liberal amounts of indigenous spices and peppers preserved meats and made them taste delicious when cooked over the open fire.

Today Jerk cooking has progressed from cooking in the ground to the familiar sights of the steel drums or “Jerk pans”, barbeques or kitchen ovens.  These Jerk pans can be found all over Jamaica on the street-side where jerk meats, mainly pork and chicken, can be purchased.  You even have the option of choosing how spicy you want your Jerk meat.  Jerk is normally sold with Jamaican staples such as Bammy, Fried Dumplings, Festival, Roasted Yam or Hard Dough Bread.

At home you may use jerk seasoning to marinate or rub everything from tofu chunks to poultry, seafood, or red meat before roasting or barbecuing.  It is especially good when you marinate chicken, pork, or thick slices of tofu overnight.  Then grill, roast, or broil the following day and serve with additional jerk sauces.

Jamaican Products provides the opportunity for you to explore the Jerk experience.  Jerk seasoning and Jerk sauces are available in domestic and commercial quantities.  Jamaican Products offers Jerk seasoning as a paste, liquid or dry options.  Mild and Hot pastes as well as dry jerk seasonings are available in domestic sizes.  While Mild and Hot pastes and liquid jerk seasonings are offered in commercial sizes.  Jamaican Products also offers a range of jerk sauces to be used as table condiments.

If you are seasoning meat or other protein source to fry the dry rub jerk seasoning will work best. If on the other hand you want to marinate over night for a deeper flavour, the paste and liquid wet marinades are suggested.

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$10.90

Jerk Seasoning powder sold online in Australia by Jamaican Products

$87.50

Commercial size jerk seasoning liquid by Jamaican Products

$11.05

A Jamaican favourite mild jerk seasoning paste

Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Jamaica is home to numerous herbal remedies proven to have tremendous health benefits. Among the best is the Jamaican Black Castor oil that has been working wonders and has earned a place in the heart of its users because of its many benefits.  As such, Jamaican Products has added this wonderful Jamaican made product to our selling list.

What is so special about the Black Castor oil made In Jamaica?

Well, some will agree that it is the hair benefits; others will say it is the health and skin benefits.  Whichever purpose it is used for, when compared to all other Castor Oils on the market; the unadulterated method of processing the Jamaican Black Castor Oil makes it the best to use. There are no chemicals added which is the major difference between the Jamaican Black Castor oil and the others.

The careful reaping of the Castor beans is the first stage of an intricate operation that involves quality.

Unlike the other Castor oils, the Jamaican Black Castor oil is extracted using the traditional method.  The castor beans are not roasted very dark so as to maintain the highest potency and beneficial healing properties of their castor oil.  After roasting, the beans are pulverized, water added and boiled.  The finish product is pure, thick, pungent which is dark brown in colour; hence it is considered healthier in nutritional content.

Importantly, how a castor bean is processed ultimately determines its pH level. Due to the method of processing of the other castor oils, they are slightly acidic; whereas the Jamaican Black Castor is more alkaline.

When it comes to uses and benefits, the Jamaican Black Castor oil has greater benefits of the hair, skin and health. The nutrients present in the Jamaican Black Castor oil are Vitamin E, Omega 6 and Omega 9. The omega 9 fatty acids contribute to skin health. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties make the oil a great treatment for acne.

The Jamaican Black Castor is also better for your hair. The rich nutrients in the oil make it ideal for treating dandruff, hair growth and helping with dryness.

Lastly, other traditional uses of the Jamaican Black Castor oil include: treating acne; breaking up external s scar tissue and may prevent new scars forming; soothing shingles; treatment of skin infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm; and reducing the appearance of stretch marks.  These are traditional Jamaican remedies.  If you think you may be suffering from any of these ailments, consult your doctor. 

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$16.00

Made in Jamaica Jamaican black castor oil by Jamaican Products Australia

Bob Marley – A Jamaican Icon

Robert Nesta Marley (Bob Marley), a Jamaican icon, was born on 6 February 1945 in Nine Mile, Saint Ann, Jamaica to Cedella Booker and Norval Sinclair Marley.  Rumour has it that as a boy his birth names of Nesta Robert were reversed to Robert Nesta by a Jamaican passport official because Nesta sounded like a girl’s name.
Bob Marley and the Wailers
Bob Marley
Marley and Neville Livingston (Bunny Wailer) were childhood friends in Nine Mile and started playing music together while at Stepney Primary and Junior High School. At age 12 Marley moved to Trench Town, Kingston with his Mom, who later had a daughter with Wailer’s Dad. In 1963 Marley formed a vocal harmony group the Wailers with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.  The group was introduced to Rastafarianism by Rita who Marley married in February 1966.  By 1969 the Wailers fully embraced Rastafarianism, which greatly influenced Marley’s music in particular and reggae music in general.  The Wailers collaborated with Lee Scratch Perry, resulting in some of the Wailers’ finest tracks.  This collaboration ended bitterly when the Wailers found that Perry, thinking the records were his, sold them in England without their consent.
I Threes Backing Group
Bob Marley and the I Threes
This initial British exposure brought the Wailers’ music to the attention of Island Records owner Chris Blackwell, who produced their first albums.  In 1974 Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left to start solo careers.  Marley then formed Bob Marley and the Wailers, with his wife Rita as one of three backup singers called the I-Threes. In 1977 Marley was diagnosed with cancer, which was kept secret from the general public while he continued working.  On May 11, 1981 Marley died in a Miami hospital, he was 36 years old. Unlike mere pop stars Marley was a moral and religious figure as well as a major record seller internationally.
Bob Marley Dread Locks
Bob Marley in Action
Bob Marley was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994; in December 1999, his 1977 album “Exodus” was named Album of the Century by Time Magazine and his song “One Love” was designated Song of the Millennium by the BBC.  Although never recognised with a Grammy nomination, in 2001 Marley was bestowed The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an honour given by the Recording Academy to: performers who during their lifetimes have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording. Marley’s legend looms larger than ever, attributable to his music, which identified oppressors and agitated for social change while simultaneously allowing listeners to forget their troubles and dance. Marley is treated like a deity among defiant youth and seasoned revolutionaries alike, who recognised him as one of their own, playing on the streets of Vanuatu, embracing him in Harare during Zimbabwe’s independence, and sending him messages of solidarity from Peruvian jungles to Himalayan hideaways. One Love and Happy Birthday to a Jamaican icon.

Reggae Music

Last month UNESCO added Reggae music to the list of international cultural treasures.

So how did this Jamaican music evolve and why the accolades?

While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term Reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that evolved out of the earlier genres of Ska and Rocksteady.

Millie Small - Ska
Millie Small – First International Ska Hit

The first Jamaican recording studio opened in 1951 and recorded “Mento” music, a fusion of European and African folk dance music. Ska originated in Jamaica, combining musical element of Mento and Calypso with a bit of American Jazz and also Rhythm and Blues. Ska music was made for dancing, being upbeat, quick and exciting. The first Ska record was cut in 1959. Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop” (1964) was the first worldwide ska hit.

Rocksteady originated in Jamaica around 1966 as a successor to Ska and a precursor to Reggae. Dances performed to Rocksteady are less energetic than the earlier Ska dances. The first international Rocksteady hit was “Hold Me Tight” (1968) by the American soul singer Johnny Nash. This hit reached number one in Canada.

The Reggae genre evolved in the 1960’s from the Rocksteady and Ska musical styles. The term Reggae was derived from rege-rege, a Jamaican phrase meaning “rags or ragged clothing,” and was used to denote the raggedy style of music.

Reggae music is recognised by its lament-like chanting and emphasises the syncopated beat. It is distinguishable from other genres in the heavy use of the Jamaican vernacular and the African nyah-bingi drumming style.

Bob Marley
Bob Marley – International Reggae Ambassador

Bob Marley is the world’s best known and loved international Reggae ambassador. Marley’s career began in 1963 with Rocksteady band, culminating with the release in 1977 of his internationally acclaim Reggae solo album “Exodus”. Marley was not only a Reggae singer, but a committed Rastafarian and a political activist. Through his music, his words and his actions, he earned forever a place in Reggae fans hearts around the world.

A seminal moment for Reggae was the 1973 release of the movie “The Harder They Come” starring Jimmy Cliff. The movie soundtrack consisted of only reggae hits.

Since the early days in Jamaica, and through to the present day worldwide, Reggae is filled with Social commentary, reflections on life (often by the poor and those marginalised by society), musings on systemic corruption (living in Babylon), a call to love, raising African consciousness, repatriation, teaching self-reliance, and of course rejoicing the blessings of life, and giving praises and exaltations to Jah Rastafari.

Dogs and Reggae Music
Reggae Music to Relax Dogs

Reggae has also been shown to help our canine friends relax.

Reggae is Jamaica’s largest cultural export, and since its humble beginnings from the ghettos of Kingston, reggae has grown to become a worldwide cultural and musical expression. There are reggae bands from every habitable continent of the world.

At its heart and root, Reggae music is still “Rebel Music”, not always easy to pigeon-hole into a neat category or label. Enjoy this Reggae video.

Jamaican Sauces

We all use sauces in cooking.  But have you wondered about its history, why we find sauces a necessity and how to explore other tastes?

Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsa, meaning salted.  Possibly the oldest recorded European sauce is a fish sauce used by the Ancient Greeks, while the Chinese soy bean paste is mentioned in 3rd century BC text.

Are you surprised that sauces have this long a history?

Sauces come in a variety of different styles and consistencies.  They can be thick or thin, rich and creamy, or light and delicate.  Depending on the purpose, sauces can be strongly flavoured, hot and spicy, or even sweet to be served with a dessert.  All over the world sauces add that something extra to any dish, including flavour, moisture, and visual appeal.

Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves.  Sauces can be used before cooking as marinades for meats and veggies, the perfect addition to a dish or used as a dipping sauce for finger food.  Sauces may be freshly prepared by the cook, especially in restaurants, but today many sauces are sold pre-made and packaged for your convenience.

The Jamaican Products sauce subscription club provides an opportunity to discover 7 of its authentic Jamaican sauces.  Two of these are exclusive to the subscription club and are not available in the general product range.

Why not gift sauces to yourself, family and friends for Christmas?  We do not guarantee that you will love every sauce, as each and every person’s palate is different.  However you will get to experience all the different sauce styles and consistencies that Jamaican Products has to offer.

Inevitably you will get a sauce you just do not like.  Why not re-gift the offending sauce to someone at work.  You never know, they may just love it.

To explore a range of authentic Jamaican sauces with a diverse array of heat levels, flavours, and styles join the sauce club

2018 Independence Celebration Photos

Enjoy these 2018 Independence Celebration photos taken on Saturday 25 August.

Attended the Celebrations and have some photos to share? Then send your photos to me at [email protected] so I can add to the gallery.

Photographer: Darren Hart

 

 

 

 

2018 Independence Celebration

The Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago diaspora get together each year to celebrate the anniversary of their independence from the United Kingdom.  Both nations gained independence in 1962, Jamaica on 6 August and Trinidad & Tobago on 31 August.

Showing the Dance Moves to All Ages

On this occasion we showcase our Caribbean culture, food, music and dance with family, friends, neighbours and the broader community.  In recent years we donate part of the proceeds to a recognised charity.

This year the event was held on Saturday 25 August 2018 at Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville.  The charity supported is Lou’s Place, a not for profit centre offering a safe place for women.

The Hon Linda Burney MP

Approximately 250 persons were in attendance.  Special guests included:

  • The Honourable Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services in the Federal Parliament,
  • Councillor Darcy Byrne, Inner West Mayor,
  • Marco Breakenridge, Honourable Consul for Jamaica,
  • Dr Bill Milne-Home, Representative for Trinidad & Tobago.

The program consisted of:

  • Kids Corner, manned by Tekeisha, Elisha, Chantel and Nicole, the face painter.
  • Food Stalls – African Feeling, Jamaican Delights and TriniKitchen
  • Craft and Arts Stalls and
  • Full Entertainment Package with Dancehall demonstration, Story Telling, Fashion Show, Jamaican Folk Songs, Zumba Class, Jamaican Poetry Reading, Caribbean Soul Steel Drum, Dancehall, Reggae and Soca Show, Live Band and DJs.

Such a superb program would have been impossible without the assistance of sponsors.

Repeat sponsors included Appleton Estate Rum, Red Stripe Beer, Jamaican Products, World BeatMcLeod’s Antiques and Puretech-Solutions.

Other sponsors included Dance Central, DanZiNina, Dance Studio 101, SoulJah, BCS Technology, Doug & Ayesha, iShareCloset and The Honorary Consul of Jamaica.

Showing Some Sponsors Products

Special mention should be made of the Marrickville based business sponsors, Post Café, Banana Joes Foodworks and Manchester Factory.
The event was streamed live to Marlene, who wanted to be there in person if she could.

As the saying goes “Many hands make light work”, so the time and labour given by the many volunteers must be acknowledged.

Thanks to Margaret, Lisa, Stephanie, Suzanne, the Pearce family, Tom, Emma, Cheryl, Eileen, Garnett, Garfield, Ted, Keith, David, Yvonne and Rhys.  Although your name may not be mentioned, your invaluable contribution was much appreciated.

The Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago Independence Celebration has been growing both in terms of program activities and participants.  It can now be regarded as a Calendar Event which should not be missed.

Would you like to be involved next year or do you have a great suggestion?  Then send me an email or give me a call on 0409 596 655.

View photos of the Celebrations.

Appleton Estate

Thanks to Appleton Estate for being a sponsor of the 2018 Independence celebrations for Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

Appleton Estate has the distinction of being the oldest sugar estate and distillery in Jamaica in continuous production.  They have been crafting this delicious and alive rum with the warmth, passion and unique sprit of Jamaica for more than 265 years on the estate nestled in St. Elizabeth’s Nassau Valley.  This region is the breadbasket of Jamaica with much of the Island’s delicious fruits and vegetables coming from this parish.

Nassau Valley, Jamaica
Nassau Valley, St Elizabeth, Jamaica

The road to the Appleton Estate is rough and windy, the land teeming with green vegetation, the air hot and sticky.  This land is the mother to Appleton rum: the endless fields of vivid green sugarcane, the rich and fertile soil and the blazing blue limestone spring supplying the water all give rise to the lingering sweet smells of molasses and ageing rum that fill the air.

The first known documentation of rum production on the Appleton Estate is dated 1749.  However, it is believed that the origins of the Estate date back to 1655, when England captured Jamaica from Spain.  Frances Dickinson, whose grandsons Caleb and Ezekiel are the earliest known owners of Appleton Estate, took part in that conquest of Jamaica.  It is believed that Appleton Estate was part of the land grant that Frances Dickinson received as a reward for his services.

Extra 12 Year Old Jamaica Rum
Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old

Today’s beautifully complex and aromatic Appleton Estate rums are of a unique style, produced only in Jamaica, and only at Appleton Estate.  All Appleton Estate rum is produced on a single estate in a small circumscribed geographic area, which makes it one of the few rums in the world to claim a terroir and the only rum in the world that has a terroir as unique as the Nassau Valley.

Appleton Estate has a range of three award-winning, premium rums that comprise the Brand’s core range:

  • Appleton Estate Signature Blend Jamaica Rum,
  • Appleton Estate Reserve Blend Jamaica Rum and
  • Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old Jamaica Rum.

Additionally, there are two limited edition luxury rums:

  • Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum and
  • Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Independence Reserve Rum.

The Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum range has a heritage of awards dating back to 1862, when J. Wray & Nephew Limited won three gold medals for its 10, 15 and 25 year-old rums in the International Exhibition held in London.  This tradition of quality and excellence continues today as the products continue to win numerous awards in international competitions.

Why not judge for yourself by trying the 2 recipes below?

Jamaican Mule rum mix
Jamaican Mule

Appleton Estate Signature Jamaican Mule

  • 1 part Appleton Estate Signature Blend
  • 3 lime wedges
  • Two parts extra fiery ginger beer
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters (optional)

Appleton Estate Signature adds a great depth of flavor to this variation on the Mule, and is best enjoyed with a fiery ginger beer.  The dash of bitters provides extra complexity, if preferred.

Squeeze the limes into a highball glass, pressing them with a muddler.  Add ice and build remaining ingredients into the glass and stir.

JAMAICAN HONEY SOOTHER

Jamaican Honey Soother
Honey Soother
  • 2 parts Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old
  • 1/4 part honey
  • 1/2 part fresh lemon juice

Soothing honey and lemon highlights the rich, warm taste of Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old in this simple cocktail.

Pour the rum, honey, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker, half-filled with ice cubes.  Shake well, strain into a Coupette cocktail glass and serve.