Updated: Feb 7
As a Jamaican, I grew up on callaloo. A few common ways we consumed it were, as a side for breakfast, stuffed into my Jamaican veggie patty for lunch or steamed and served on the side of my hearty Jamaican dinner. The good news is, whether you live in Jamaica or abroad, you have a good chance of being able to access this wonder vegetable. Callaloo is a vegetable staple for the majority of the Caribbean islands, much like how collard greens are a staple in the U.S. for Americans. Even the island of Trinidad and Tobago has crowned callaloo as their national dish except their callaloo is made from Dasheen leaves, another powerful Caribbean green. Callaloo is one of the most nutrient-rich greens you could ever consume. It contains high concentrations of nutrients such as Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Protein, Folate, Manganese and many other important vitamins and minerals. Therefore, today we are going to discuss how to pick the freshest bunch of callaloo, how to clean callaloo, and how to cook it.
How do you know that you've found a good bundle of callaloo? Where can I buy it?
Like many other greens, the freshness of the plant is apparent in the stems. When you’re shopping for callaloo, first take a good look at the leaves and then another good look at the stems. If the stems are dried up and crinkly, chances are the callaloo is not that fresh or is on the verge of going bad. Choose a bundle that has rich, chlorophyl-filled stems. That way, if you don’t cook it right away, it will still keep fresh for a couple of days. Callaloo is sold at most Caribbean Grocery Supermarkets in the U.S. and in the UK. If you're in Jamaica or some other island, you can often find it at the market or in your local Supermarket when it's in season and even sometimes when it's not in season. To find your local Caribbean Grocer, go to Yelp and search "Caribbean market" then enter your location as your home city. If you're in the DMV, Caribbean Market in Takoma Park has fresh callaloo about 80% of the time that I visit the store.
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