Jamaican Food Preservation Techniques

There are times we have a little excess from the garden or we just want to stock up for when the food item goes out of season. In Jamaica most of our food items come around once or twice per year and some are around all year. Need a coupon code for food insurance? Click here.

One may find that a item may be scarce on one parish while the other parish has an abundance.We have several ways or preserving food that will allow for future use.  Preserving foods also insures that we don't have a lot going bad.

Roasting Before Freezing

Roasted foods last much longer than boiled or even fried foods. In most cases the food item is roasted than frozen and can last up to six months in the freezer. 

What foods can be roasted?

  • Breadfruit - last six months in freezer
  • Yams and potatoes - last up to three months in freezer
  • Chicken - six months to a year
  • Beef - six months to a year
Roasting can either be done on an open fire or in an oven. Food should be left in the skin to help retain some of its moisture while being cooked. The food can either be peeled before being placed in the freezer or left in the skin. A freezer container that will help to keep frost out is highly recommended. Wait until item is thoroughly cooled (to room temperature) before freezing.


Another very popular reservation technique used to preserve food. Pickling takes on two formats in Jamaica. 
  1. Pickled vegetables preserved in vinegar and spices: Vegetable stored in pickling sauce can last for years. Vinegar is one of the best solutions for preserving food. The sauce can either be sweet or savory. The vegetables can be raw or or boiled in the pickle juice. Some items such as cucumbers must be drained of moisture first by covering in salt to help pull away moisture. If not the cucumber will make the pickle juice slimy and it won't last as long.
  2. Pickled or cured meat preserved in salt and spices: This method was used back in the day when there were no refrigerators and freezers. Grandparents used cover the meat in spices such as sugar, salt, allspice and other spices to keep for up to two weeks. The making of ham derived from this preservation method. It is not widely practiced much and I would not recommend it as many times the meat goes bad really fast.


Canning is another popular preservation method as well but not widely used at home. There are many canneries on our island that gladly do the canning for us.


Making preserves is another very popular method of making sure our food lasts longer and we can get them when they are out of season. Preserves are made  by stewing fruits or vegetables in sugar. Preserves can last for years and years.