Pancakes, Hot Sauce, and Bush Tea!

Livin' in Jamaica #3 - Pancakes, Hot Sauce, and Bush Tea!  IMG_2083

Anyone who has lived with me in the past five years has learned that I love to cook or bake to relax. Since coming to Jamaica, I've baked a couple loaves of bread and have gone on a two day cookie baking spree. I also brought maple syrup with me so I could share a taste of Vermont with my host family, so obviously I had to make pancakes to complete the experience!  Note: Dairy is very expensive here, so I made a milkless pancake recipe and added coconut oil and banana for a Jamaican twist.  It was lovely to create a taste of home while also sharing one of my favorite breakfast meals with two host mothers who have only prepared box pancakes with corn syrup. I also took the time to explain the sugaring process, which they had no idea about. In the end, the pancakes were a hit and both host moms demanded that I make them again before I leave. In case my Vermont friends are wondering, you better believe that I have been putting the leftover maple syrup in my coffee every morning!

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The next story is a little embarrassing, and it started with these cute, innocent looking peppers:

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Yep...those are scotch bonnet peppers! I decided to make some hot sauce so I gathered the above ingredients and got to it! I feel as though it is obvious where this story is going...I did not wear gloves! My hands were on fire and I used every trick in the book including rubbing my hands with baking soda, tomato, dairy, and vegetable oil! By the end of the night, I had a cocktail of home remedies on my hands. Nothing worked because I had so many tiny cuts on my hands from farming so I spent most of the night running my hands under cold water and holding them near the fan. Never again will I cut a scotch bonnet pepper without gloves. The good news is that my hot sauce turned out great, but I haven't used it much because I am still coming to peace with the burn of this project!

All wild plants in Jamaica are referred to as bush. Plants with medicinal properties that can be make into tea are bush tea . I have always loved making tea of plants in the United States such as stinging nettles, raspberry leaf, and lemon balm. Here is my neighbor holding up cerasee, Momordica charanta, which bears an edible fruit and also brewed as a tea for a wide range of medicinal uses (such as treating liver problems or fever). I am excited to go on plant walks and get to know some more of the bush tea in Jamaica!

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Cerasee tea is very bitter and is rich of antioxidants.

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Internet is spotty but I wanted to post that I am alive, well, and having a blast. Training is half way over!