June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month.

Celebrating Caribbean American Culture in June

Every June, we have the opportunity to celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month. This celebration is relatively new in our country’s history—it was officially started in 2006. Despite its newness, it is very worth celebrating, especially in our state. Massachusetts has over 200,000 residents who were born in the Caribbean and even more who identify as Caribbean American. This month, we are celebrating all these individuals and highlighting some wonderful contributions of Caribbean culture.

The Caribbean typically refers to the region of islands in the Caribbean Sea, which includes Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and more. About a third of Caribbean Americans in Massachusetts have roots in Haiti, though many people may identify a cultural connection to one or many of the nations in the Caribbean. This June, we encourage you to use some summer produce to try some delicious Caribbean-inspired dishes. You and your family may find a new favorite meal.

Jamaican Food

Experiment with Caribbean Flavors

Caribbean cuisine is a unique blend of many worldly influences—African, Creole, Asian, Middle Eastern, and more. There are some Caribbean foods you can explore on this website. Simply go to the Recipes page and sort using the Culturally Inspired tab to see only Caribbean-inspired recipes. As a sample, check out these three recipes below.

Haitian Style Chicken and Rice

Haitian Style Chicken and Rice is a simple dish inspired by Haitian cooking. Rice lays the foundation for this meal. It is then boosted with peppers, lime, orange, and thyme to create a zesty flavor. Chicken is the recommended protein for this recipe, but this could just as easily be made with fish, lamb, or beef. Any of these products may be featured in Haitian cuisine and can make a hearty, filling meal perfect for lunch or dinner.

Caribbean Casserole

Caribbean Casserole is inspired by some staple flavors and ingredients from the Caribbean. Beans, rice, and tomatoes are key to many Caribbean dishes, and all three are featured in this casserole. If you want to enhance this meal, feel free to add sweet potatoes or plantains. These two common Caribbean foods can add the perfect touch of sweetness.

Spicy Grilled Caribbean Jerk Chicken drumsticks and thighs on a black platter on a wooden table

Jamaican Jerk Chicken is a great dish for a summer outing. This recipe has instructions to bake the chicken in an oven, but you could just as easily cook it over a grill at home or at a park. The spices are key to this recipe—they are a delicious mix of sweet and spicy flavors. If you are vegetarian or simply do not want to use chicken, try this recipe with tofu. To save yourself some time, you can create Jamaican Jerk Paste ahead of time and have it on hand to season your chicken or tofu whenever you want. This paste can stay in your freezer for up to three months.

Cook Up a Caribbean Feast

With new recipes to try, it’s time to get cooking. Use your HIP benefits to check out a farmers’ market and get some fresh produce for the Haitian Chicken and Rice or Caribbean Casserole. Prepare some Jamaican Jerk Paste in bulk to pull out for a quick dinner on those busy nights. It is easy to celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month with these delicious meals—you can enjoy a variety of amazing Caribbean flavors. Share with a friend or your kids and see what else you can learn about a new culture.

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