[Stir it up] Revel in Heat

Scotch Bonnet? 

Some people like their foods spicy hot. The heat comes from hot peppers, Capsicum sinensis. Scotch bonnets and bird peppers —“a bad, bad pepper.” The medium-sized Scotch bonnet is a flavorful thick-skinned round pepper; it may be red, yellow or green.

There is an almost identical pepper called the habanero, which is grown in Mexico and the Yucatan and can be found in many Spanish markets. These peppers are the best substitutes for Scotch bonnets. You can substitute Jalapeno peppers if you must. Many recipes called for adding the hot pepper whole and removing it after the dish is cooked. In this way, we get the flavor of the pepper without the heat. If you want less heat, in recipes calling for sliced or ground pepper, remove the seeds and the membranes containing the seeds from the pepper.

A fresh hot pepper and a sharp knife are always served on the side of the plate so that diners can sliver off pieces of pepper as their palate allows.

Hot pepper sauces can always be used to spice up dishes.

Scotch Bonnet PepperScotch bonnet pepper sauce is preferred for most dishes and to add heat to the basic Jerk Marinade and Jerk Rub.

Pickapeppa Sauce is another Jamaican pepper Sauce that you can use to add heat to your food. These sauces can be found in Caribbean stores, your grocery stores, or search on-line to find a store near you.

Jerk cooking is an authentic Jamaican way to cook pork, chicken, seafood, and beef over a fire pit or on a barbecue grill. However, it is the special seasoning—a highly spiced combination of scallions, onions, thyme, Jamaican pimento (allspice), cinnamon, nutmeg, peppers and salt –that makes jerk what it is. For people of Jamaican heritage, jerk cooking is the perfect reflection of the Jamaican lifestyle, spicy, sweet, charismatic, and hot.

The taste of jerked foods is hot with peppers, but as you savor it the variety of spices catches up with you and it is “like a carnival where all the elements come together in your mouth. The combination of spices tastes as if they were quarreling and dancing and mingling in your mouth all at the same time.” The taste is so unexpected in spite of its peppery heat, you automatically want more. Here is the Jamaican saying for wanting more, “It is very morish.”

It’s Name [Jerk] ?

How did jerk gets it name? I really don’t know, but everyone has his or her own version or theory.

Some say it is called jerk because the meat is turned over and over again – or jerked over and over again – as it cooks over the fire. Others say that is not right; it is called jerk because when it is served, the jerk man pulls – or, you see jerks – a portion of meat of the pork. The reason is not important to me and what counts is the flavor. The spices used in jerk seasoning have a special pungent smell. Jamaican spices are world famous and the content of the oil in these spices are higher than anywhere else in the world. It seems to be the oiliness of the spices that intensifies the zip and zest. It is said that in World War 1, European soldiers were told to line their boots with Jamaican pimento as a way to make their feet warmer in the cold winters.

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