Now this was my kind of classroom. I learned about foods and spices I’d never seen before and ways to prepare and cook with them. Also, there were just so many beautiful colors.
There were curry, ginger, cayenne, and paprika spices galore.
I have a cabinet stocked with those, but I have never seen geera spice. The kind woman told me it’s a nice meat seasoning. I researched the spice, and it turns out that is it cumin seed called jeera.
The Dasheen plant can be prepared in a variety of ways. The dasheen bush is the closest thing I found to spinavvch. The leaves are very big and oftentimes referred to as elephant ears. They can be used in stews or raw when the leaves are chopped. This is also what is used in callalou. The dasheen root can be sliced and fried, boiled, or stewed. Dasheen can be used to make wine and ice cream, but I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to try any in this form.
Dasheen Bush Leaves (elephant ears):
Chopped dasheen leaves (similar to spinach):
Today at the Chaguanas Market, I saw the raw hot pepper and pimento peppers that give so much spice to the food and sauces here. Look out for the little stout peppers – especially the red ones.
These little green crazy bunches are silk bananas. They would be boiled first before prepared. Our bus driver, Sam, likes them fried and served with salt fish (cod).
Cassava is pictured in the above image in the bottom left corner. Cassava has a consistency and texture similar to potatoes. These are considered ground provisions since they are grown as roots in the ground. They also go by the name blue foods, because some of them have a blueish tint at the core. I have had them in more of a boiled form served with garlic sauce and in a casserole form. My personal favorite was in a casserole form. If I was at home, I would enjoy it boiled with sautéed mushrooms and onions in curry or cumin spice served with a side of mellow black bean salsa over a bed of spinach.