Jamaican Callaloo
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Jamaican Food The Jamaican Callaloo

Jamaican Callaloo, How To Prepare And Cook

Jamaican callaloo is a Jamaican vegetable that resembles spinach. Though it tastes almost like spinach it is not as sour. Jamaican callaloo is though to have its origin in South America however it has been recorded as being in Jamaica from as early as 1752.  The Jamaican plant grows up to about 12 -15 inches in height with leaves that extend to about 3 – 5 inches. The Jamaican plant stalk is light green and can also been cooked. The Jamaican plant is a staple in Jamaica and makes one of the best Jamaican breakfast recipes.

Tropical leaf Jamaican vegetables such as the Jamaican callaloo is grown in the tropics and are rich sources of nutrients, particularly minerals, and vitamins. A number of species and cultivars have been introduced and grown in the continental US on a limited-scale, particularly in the southern region. The US is a major market for tropical and specialty greens and most of the shipments come from the Caribbean and Latin America. For example, in 1998, total US imports for dasheen leaves was over 90 tons. From this total, 70% came from Jamaica and 30% from the Dominican Republic. In the same year, the US imported Jamaican callaloo at 27 t from the same countries. In 1988, shipments of Oriental, Mexican, tropical, and exotic produce, including specialty leafy greens, accounted for about 5% of fresh Jamaican vegetable shipments, whereas in previous years the volumes have been too low to track .

The Jamaican plant is best grown in humid conditions and requires a lot of water during the process. The Jamaican plant must be washed well before prepared as the major pest that plagues the Jamaican callaloo Jamaican plant are small caterpillars that can quickly ravage the Jamaican callaloo crop. In Jamaica Jamaican callaloo has just began to be grown on a commercial level. Several manufacturers now export Jamaican callaloo in brine to North America and the United Kingdom. The Jamaican callaloo Jamaican plant is also used in several other recipes as an extra or a filling.

The multipurpose leafy Jamaican vegetable can be purchased at any Jamaican local market and remains one of the most popular meals. It is used as a filling for the Jamaican callaloo Loaf Recipe, or can be used in fillings. Jamaican callaloo must however be diced or shredded. Jamaican callaloo before canning was sold as a bundle or as the packaged shredded product which had a shelf life of about 5 weeks once it is kept refrigerated. The shredded Jamaican callaloo is first washed then steamed and the Jamaican spices, Jamaican onions, Jamaican tomatoes are added and sautéed to get the finished product.  

There are several reasons for the increasing demand of tropical and specialty leafy greens in the US. Growth in ethnic populations contributes to demand for product diversity within the produce section and food, previously considered ethnic or regional in nature is increasingly being consumed by a broader portion of the population. This trend will likely continue as the ethnic population continues to grow and more Americans become familiar with and develop the taste for the new crops.

Leaf Jamaican vegetables are typically low in calories, low in fat, high in protein per calorie, high in dietary fiber, high in iron and calcium, and very high in photochemical such as vitamin C, vitamin A, lute in and folic acid. Though the Jamaican callaloo Jamaican plant itself does not have much medicinal uses the food does contain several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, B and C, and is high in protein, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid, amino acids, arginine, cystine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, alanine, glycine, praline, serine and tyrosine.

Jamaican callaloo (sometimes called callaloo in Trinidad and Tobago) is most commonly used in the Jamaican pepper pot recipe. This Caribbean dish, the main ingredient of which is a leaf Jamaican vegetable, traditionally either amaranth (known by many local names including Jamaican callaloo or bhaji), or taro or Xanthosoma species (both known by many local names including Jamaican callaloo, coco, tannia, or dasheen bush). Because the leaf Jamaican vegetable used in some regions may be locally called "Jamaican callaloo" or "Jamaican callaloo bush", some confusion can arise among the different Jamaican vegetables and with the dish itself. Outside of the Caribbean, spinach is occasionally used.

Jamaican callaloo is almost always made with okra. There are many variations of Jamaican callaloo which may include coconut milk, crab, Caribbean lobster, meats, chile peppers, and other seasonings. The ingredients are added and simmered down to a soup or stew consistency. When done, Jamaican callaloo is dark green in color and is served as a soup or a side dish which may be used as a gravy for other food.

Jamaican callaloo is widely known throughout the Caribbean and has a distinctively Caribbean origin, created by African slaves using ideas of the indigenous people along with both African (okra) and indigenous (Xanthosoma) plants.

Leaf Jamaican vegetables, also called greens or leafy greens, are Jamaican plant leaves eaten as a Jamaican vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots. Although they come from a very wide variety of plants, most share a great deal with other leaf Jamaican vegetables in nutrition and cooking methods. Leaf Jamaican vegetables most often come from short-lived herbaceous plants such as lettuce and spinach. Woody plants whose leaves can be eaten as leaf Jamaican vegetables include Adansonia, Aralia, Moringa, Morus, and Toona species. The leaves of many fodder crops are also edible by humans, but usually only eaten under famine conditions. Examples include alfalfa, clover, and most grasses, including wheat and barley. These plants are often much more prolific than more traditional leaf Jamaican vegetables, but exploitation of their rich nutrition is difficult, primarily because of their high fiber content. This obstacle can be overcome by further processing such as drying and grinding into powder or pulping and pressing for juice.

Most leaf Jamaican vegetables can be eaten raw, for example in salads. They may also be stir-fried, stewed or steamed.

Leaf Jamaican vegetables stewed with pork are a traditional dish in soul food, and southern U.S. cuisine.

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