Spotlight on Peppers: Jamaican Meat Marinade

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Jamaican Meat Marinade

I promised you a Food for Thought on peppers this week, combined with a great recipe and tips for using peppers (especially if you’re a newbie).  Personally, I never liked peppers – ever – until I started cooking for myself and got married, trying new recipes.  My dad dislikes them a lot, so my poor roommate in college even had to show me how to cut them because I’d never seen it done.

Pepper Terminology

  • “Bell” peppers are the big ones that you see everywhere:  green, red, orange and yellow.  They are good raw in salads or with a dip, stuffed, sauteed in fajitas or over brats, and diced in many dinner dishes.  You can also cook and puree peppers to “hide” in things like spaghetti sauce and casseroles if your kids won’t do the see-um veggie thing.
  • “Sweet” peppers are the same as bell peppers.
  • “Hot” or “chili” peppers are smaller and spicy!  Usually people would group together things like jalapeno, habanero, serrano, and chili peppers.  Add great flavor and zing to Mexican and other dishes with hot peppers!
  • “Ribs” are the white lines on the inside of the peppers.  Most people say to pull these out, but I’ve seen info that says they’re healthy, too.  Go figure.

Super Foods

Both red/orange bell and hot peppers are super foods; basic green bell peppers aren’t included.  They don’t take as long to ripen on the plant, and they’re not as nutrient-dense.  For those who don’t love the flavor of peppers, this works out well because red peppers are much more mild and don’t affect the overall taste of the dish as much as a green peppers.  They are unfortunately more expensive.  That’s why it’s important to stock up in reduced produce and in the summer at the Farmer’s Market.  I can usually chop/slice and freeze enough in the summer to last almost through winter.

Health Benefits and Nutrition of Peppers

Red and orange bell peppers are a great source of Vitamin C (which tells you not to overcook them if you can help it – C is very water and heat sensitive).  They go great raw in salads or with beans to help absorption of iron. Also a good source of folic acid, and Vitamins A and B6.

Hot peppers, much to my husband’s delight, are actually incredibly good for you!

  • Capsaicin is the shining star in hot peppers.  It helps lungs function more effectively.  Who knew?
  • Big nutrients include Vitamin C and beta carotene (Vit A)
  • Diseases tackled by hot peppers include:
    • respiratory ailments
    • headaches
    • asthma (helps breathe more easily)
    • sinus and nasal passage issues
  • Hot peppers are also anti-carcinogenic (cancer) because they bind and remove carcinogens from the system.  If you’re a smoker, at least eat lots of spicy peppers!
  • Sources 1 2 3
Jamaican Meat Marinade
Recipe type: Dinners
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender with a little olive oil, vinegar and salt.
  2. Puree.
  3. Place meat in deep baking dish or glass storage dish; poke holes in meat.  Cover meat with puree and rub in.
  4. Pour marinade on top and refrigerate (covered) for at least 1 hour.  Uncover and place in pre-heated oven (depending on meat used).
  5. Use on chicken, pork or beef.
Garlic and Herb Marinade Sauce – try extra virgin olive oil, vinegar of your choice (apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar would be good), and extra crushed garlic, maybe Italian seasoning for a real food version that’s not processed and made with soybeans oil and HFCS.

I make a batch of this once a summer and use it MANY times.  It seems to last fine in a glass jar in the refrigerator, and it certainly doesn’t take a whole batch for a normal amount of meat.  It’s awesome for grilling chicken after marinating overnight, or I prepare a whole bunch of chicken and freeze it right in the marinade for quick and easy meals.

The only bummer is that I need to make my marinade at the beginning of the summer, and the Farmer’s Market doesn’t have peppers until August around here.

Enjoy!  Find other tasty recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Blissfully Domestic, Life as MOM’s Recipe Swap (veggies!) and Make it From Scratch.

Other Super Food Health Benefits:

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11 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Linda Powell says

    Just found your site and I love it! Thanks for taking the time to share with us! What is the garlic and herb marinade?

    • Katie says

      Great question, Linda. It’s a store-bought item, Lawry’s is one brand, but my local store also carries an off-brand. I’m thinking this summer that I’m going to try making my own with lots of fresh garlic, olive oil and vinegar and see if there’s a big taste difference. I think the Jamaican marinade imparts most of the flavor, and I usually skimp on the bottled stuff anyway. I’ll let you know if it turns out in an update/comment at this post! Subscribe to comments if you want to make sure you get the update in your email box… Thanks for visiting!

      • Renee says

        Did you ever come up with a suitable garlic/herb marinade? I came here today looking for a great marinade recipe, and want to try your Jamaican recipe, but I won’t buy store-bought marinade anymore. :)

        • Katie says

          I haven’t messed with it much, unfortunately. I think I tried something like this a while back…but I didn’t write it down! *slaps wrist*

          Try extra virgin olive oil, vinegar of your choice (apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar would be good, and extra crushed garlic, maybe Italian seasoning for a real food version that’s not processed and made with soybeans oil and HFCS.

          I guarantee most of the flavor in the marinade comes from the homemade part with all those peppers! :) Katie

  2. Carrie says

    Your comment on stocking the freezer with peppers (along with everything else) made me finally ask: how big is your freezer? We have a fridge-top freezer and I’m almost always at capacity because I freeze so many things. Wish there was room for a garage deep-freeze!

    • Katie says

      I fill the fridge-top freezer to falling-out-ness and we also have a small freezer in the basement, chest style but only about 2’x2′ or so. It is also full enough that I have to make sure the lid closes. I could use a full-size in the basement for sure! I can never buy a whole bushel of peppers in the summer b/c I worry that I’ll run out of space. I borrowed a friend’s dehydrator last month, though, and learned that you can dehydrate peppers. I have already asked her if I can borrow it again in August to dry chopped peppers for my soups and chilis all winter! I’ll still freeze some in strips for stir fry and fajitas though. Just a thought, if you can find a dehydrator at a garage sale or to borrow, that would be another option for peppers, at least, if not a few other things that you could freeze (berries, for one).

      • Renee says

        Just don’t dehydrate hot peppers (jalapenos) in the house! We learned this the hard way (and it’s one reason why I stopped trying to dehydrate things :( I know I should just have changed WHAT I was trying to dehydrate, instead of giving up on it altogether.)

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