As one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world, the Caribbean is the top name among the places people want to visit most during their vacation. Besides the beauty of exquisite beaches, the cuisine is the ‘secret weapon’ of this tourist paradise.
The secret behind the delicacies here is the combination of spices and herbs. So, do you know a lot about herbs with unique flavors? If not, let me help you, here is a list of 5 favorite herbs in the Caribbean that you should know:
Five Common Herbs Of The Caribbean That Bring You Different Tastes
What is Culantro? Chadon Beni is another name for this Caribbean herb, and its plant name is Eryngium foetidum. It is widely used in food processing in Caribbean. Not only this spice is used to make recaito or sofrito (a mixture of onions, garlic, ajicitos, green bell peppers, and lots of culantro) in Puerto Rican cuisine but it is also a natural spice used in Asian regional dishes like sushi.
This herb grows in areas with a hot and humid climate such as Hawaii, Cambodia, Mexico, and Vietnam, but you may not know that it originated in South and Central America.
I happened to see an article written by Linda Claire of GrowHerbsGarden.com; he provided some interesting information about the taste of Culantro.
‘These taste patterns are usually due to the presence of organic compounds (chemicals). Those chemicals usually come from groups of terpenoids, carotenoids, flavonoids, and other basic essential oils,’ he wrote.
Culantro has a bitter taste and pungent odor similar to coriander, but much stronger. Besides, it is a bit pungent. Obviously, not everyone can eat this herb.
Most herbs have a specific flavor like sour, bitter or sweet. So every time you mention the name of one of them, you will think of its taste right in the head. Thanks to its unique flavor, the herbs are added to the dish as a special seasoning.
According to Linda Claire, GrowHerbsGarden.com owner, and an herbal expert, you should chew Culantro after every meal. Why? Culantro helps you eliminate the residual sulfur compound in your mouth – the leading cause of bad breath. Besides, Culantro enables you to reduce the daily intake of glucose, treat asthma, reduce pain, eliminate poisoning, etc.
Culantro is an aromatic herb and flavor similar to cilantro
For professional chefs, especially Western cuisine lovers, the Thyme concept is no longer strange. Thyme trees have many branches; each branch has a lot of small leaves.
Thyme first appeared in Southern Europe, primarily the Mediterranean. This spice is prevalent in Southern Italy, then spread in many parts of the world such as France, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
Thyme has a slightly spicy taste and a strong aroma. If you cook for a long time at the right temperature, the leaves give off a delicate fragrance. Today, this leaf is trendy among the chefs’ choices to increase the flavor of the dish. You can use thyme in both fresh and dried form.
The effect of thyme on thymol and carvacrol plays an essential role in enhancing the respiratory resistance of viruses and bacteria. Also, it significantly reduces the symptoms of respiratory infections. Thyme leaves also provide many other health benefits such as good eyesight, cardiovascular protection, stress relief and so on.
Thyme is a herb that has been used in medical and culinary applications for thousands of years
Basil is a spiced vegetable commonly used in cooking as well as baking. It is a spicy vegetable typical of Western cuisine, especially, the Italian one.
Basil is a type of aromatic plant and is also thought to be relatives with mint. The name Basil derived from the Greek: basilikon (meaning “king”). This name shows that the Greeks highly respected Basil in the past and used it as a medicine. Basil is very diverse in genres. They are all used in delicious dishes in the Caribbean.
When you eat basil, you will feel the fresh and pungent taste right at the tip of your tongue. Basil is commonly used to add flavor to soups, sauces, pizza, salads or cakes.
This herb is rich in nutrients like vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. Vitamin A is also a nutrient component in basil. It helps your body fight against antioxidants while preventing blood cholesterol – the leading cause of serious diseases such as moderate arterial fiber, myocardial infarction, and stroke.
Basil originated from the tropics
Marjoram is a smelling herb whose botanical name is the beauty of the mountain. It is known for its therapeutic uses in medicine and is a familiar flavor in Caribbean cuisine. This herb is a perennial plant with a maximum height of 36 inches. It has green and flat oval leaves.
As a member of the mint family, the fact that marjoram has a subtle scent is easy to guess. The taste is similar to oregano, but the marjoram can give you a sweeter and more refined experience. However, marjoram is not as spicy as its relatives. Therefore, it is suitable to combine with gentle dishes such as chicken or fish.
Marjoram can improve your digestive system by increasing the production of digestive enzymes. Moreover, it also helps you have a healthy heart and excellent mental.
Marjoram is not only a popular spice in meals but also an excellent remedy for health
Green onion originated from Asia and was first used by Chinese people 5000 years ago. Currently, this food is becoming an integral part of the culinary arts in many countries from Asia, to Europe and North America.
The green onions are sweeter and mellower than regular onions. It gives you taste from fresh leaves and a little pungent.
In terms of antibacterial ability, eating green onions will help the body form a disease prevention system. More impressively, researchers at the American Institute for Cancer Research say that natural sulfur compounds in green onions make it an anti-cancer food.
Onions are indispensable spices in dishes
All in all, herbs available in nature can become useful remedies and essential spices in daily meals. Caribbean people make use of natural ingredients to create great delicacies that attract food lovers all around the world. Try once to use these spices in your dish. I believe you will be happy to enjoy them.