Tropical Sun

Frequently Asked Questions

How hot is a scotch bonnet pepper?

Scotch bonnet peppers are part of the Habanero pepper family, which are the hottest pepper family. On the Scoville scale, scotch bonnet peppers have a rating of 100,000-350,000. For comparison, jalapeno peppers have a rating of 2500-8000.

What is an ackee?

Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica. It bears a resemblance to scrambled eggs in terms of its colour and texture. It is used in Jamaica's signature dish, Ackee and Saltfish.

Who created the jerk flavour?

The Arawak Indians constructed a grid of wooden sticks, some distance above a shallow pit of smoldering ashes, using green allspice-tree wood (pimenta wood). They then placed the meat on the grid and covered it with allspice-tree leaves (pimenta leaves) along with spices in order to impart further flavour while trapping the smoke for maximum effect.

Is it true that all Rastafarians are vegetarian?

Many Rastafarians maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet all of the time. Food approved for Rastafarians is called "Ital" or "I-tal"
The primary goal of adhering to an Ital diet is to increase "Livity", or the life energy that Rastas generally believe lives within all of us.

A common tenet of Rastafarian beliefs is the sharing of a central life energy among living things, and what is put into one's body should enhance Livity rather than reduce it. Though there are different interpretations of ital regarding specific foods, the general principle is that food should be natural, or pure, and from the earth; Rastas therefore often avoid food which is chemically modified.

How do you make jerk chicken?

There are a number of ways to make jerk chicken, but Tropical Sun has a quick and easy method to make great tasting jerk chicken! Click here to learn how!

Is there a vegetarian dish that uses ackee?

We actually have 2 recipes on the site that are vegetarian and use ackee. These are Ackee Pasta and Vegetarian Ackee.

Is it true that the heat of a chilli is in the seeds?

This is somewhat true. The part of the chilli which holds the seeds is actually where most of the heat lies. However, the seeds themselves do contain a fair amount of heat.

What is saltfish?

Saltfish is cod which has been preserved by salting. It is used in Jamaica's signature dish, Ackee and Saltfish.

What are plantains?

Plantain are sometimes mistaken for bananas as they have a similar resemblance. Plantains are usually bigger and greener compared to conventional bananas. They are usually fried or baked and served as a side dish to any meal. They can also be made into chips.

What is farina?

Farina is a carbohydrate-rich food, often cooked in boiling water and served warm for breakfast, or cooked with milk and made into semolina pudding. It is used as an ingredient in many dishes and in processed foods such as breakfast cereals and pasta.

What is cornmeal used for?

Cornmeal is flour ground from dried corn. It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies. In Africa, cornmeal is commonly used to make Fufu (a thick porridge).

What is callaloo?

Callaloo is similar to spinach as it made from a leaf vegetable. It is commonly believed that callaloo contains just one leaf vegetable but it actually contains leaves from many plants.

What is "Ital" food?

The word Ital (or I-tal) is derived from the English word vital (without the "V"). Ital cooking is way of preparing and cooking food that is consistent with Rastafarian beliefs and practices. Like vital, ital means essential to human existence.  Rastafarians see their food as a way to be one with nature and also as medicine for the body, as it builds your "strucha" (structure).

Ital is used to describe food that is "approved" for Rastafarians. Ital cooking is essentially traditional Jamaican cooking without salt, meat, and additives. Therefore, a good ital cook has to be skilled at using available herbs and spices to produce food that is palatable and tasty - indeed ital food is often as tasty as traditional Jamaican cooking.

Ital cooking has expanded beyond its traditional Jamaican roots to include other foods such as tofu and many other foods and vegetables not native to Jamaica.

What is gari?

Gari is a popular African food. Is it made from cassava tubers. In West Africa, there are 2 types of gari; white gari and yellow gari. Yellow gari is fried with palm oil to give it its colour whereas white gari is fried without palm oil. Gari is used to make the popular African dish Gari Foto.

Is it true that an ackee can be poisonous?

The unripened or inedible parts of the ackee contain certain toxins that are harmful to people. If the toxins were to be consumed, typical conditions could include vomiting and seizures.