Jamaican Pickled Vegetables (Escovitch Sauce) is a very popular Caribbean pickled vegetable dressing that is used as a condiment to many dishes, particularly seafood. It’s made by pickling vegetables such a onions, chayote, carrots and scotch bonnet peppers in vinegar, herbs and spices!
Looking for similar recipes or more tasty Jamaican recipes? Check out Jamaican Escovitch Fish, and serve alongside these Jamaican Fried Dumpling! These Jamaican seafood dishes are great options as well, Jamaican Curry Shrimp (Seafood) and Jamaican Coconut Curried Salmon!
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Jamaican Pickled Vegetables (Escovitch Sauce)
Jamaican Escovitch Fish is one of my favourite seafood recipes, if you read the recipe blog post you’ll understand why! It’s all kinds of yumminess, with great flavour, texture, and island pizazz! That leads me to this Jamaican Pickled Vegetable recipe – it’s the condiment to the dish, the perfect pair!
Growing up, we always had a glass jar of sliced veggies in the very back of the fridge. We didn’t know exactly what it was, but we knew it was spicy and the grown up always had it. As we got older, we understood exactly why it was a staple in our household!
Made by pickling vegetables such a onions, chayote (chocho), carrots and scotch bonnet peppers in vinegar, herbs and spices, this Caribbean staple condiment can be used on variety of dishes! Fish, meats, poultry just to name a few!
You’ll Love this Recipe, Here’s Why:
Pairs Perfectly with Fish & Seafood Recipes – especially Jamaican Escovitch Fish
The Perfect Condiment – use these pickled escovitch sauce on a variety of dishes from meats to poultry and most definitely fish and seafood.
Great Way to Use Up Vegetables – if you have vegetables in the fridge that are about to go bad, pickling is a great way to save food and preserve them for an extended period of time.
Quick & Easy to Prepare – this sauce comes together in no time, once the veggies are prepped, toss in a sealable glass jar and “Bob’s your uncle”!
What Does Escovitch Mean?
The word escovitch comes from the Spanish word “escabeche”, which is used to describe a dish of fish that is fried then marinated in vinegar and spices. Also known as pickling, this was a great way to preserve food and keep them from spoiling in the days prior to refrigeration.
History of Jamaican Escovitch Sauce
Escovitch Sauce, same as escovitch fish originates in Spain and dates back to the 16th century when the Spanish settled on the island. This speaks to the complex mix of colonial cultures that influence the island cuisine.
Other Names for Jamaican Pickled Vegetables
There are a few names to describe this condiment, here are some of them:
- Escovitch Sauce
- Escovitch Dressing
- Hot Pepper Pickle
- Hot Pickle Pepper
- Jamaican Pickled Vegetables
- Jamaican Pickled Pepper(s)
- Jamaican Escovitch Pickle Sauce
What is Escovitch Fish?
Escovitch Fish is a very popular fried fish dish, served on the island of Jamaican from morning until night. It is fish, often red snapper or sliced king fish fried and then marinated or pickled under a medley of vinegar, spices and vegetables.
What Does Escovitch Fish Taste Like
This dish is similar to ceviche, a South American process of cooking fish or seafood using vinegar. However, unlike ceviche, the fish is first fried and the veggies sauteed until tender crisp before pouring atop the fish to marinate. It has a slightly sweet tangy taste with a hint of spice which enhances the natural flavour of the fish.
Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
- White Onions – you can use yellow or cooking onions, sweet onions or white onions.
- Carrots – thinly slice or julienne these.
- Chayote – also known as chocho is a type of squash and has a taste between a mild apple and cucumber with a crisp texture.
- Scotch Bonnet Peppers – this packs a good spicy punch, and flavour to the pickled vegetables. Alternatively, you can use habanero peppers.
- Pimento Seeds – also known as allspice berries and tastes like a warm blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
- Thyme Sprigs – this fresh aromatic and flavourful herb is essential in many jamaican dishes, and definitely great in this one as well.
- White Vinegar – this is key in the pickling process as the acidity of vinegar inhibits bacterial growth.
What’s Needed to Make This Recipe
For optimal freshness, here are some features you should look for in a pickling jar:
- Glass – durable, food-safe and reusable.
- Air-Tight Seal – to all for maximum freshness.
- Flip Lid Design – makes opening and closing the jars easier.
- Wide Mouth Opening – allows for easy filling, removing, and cleaning of jar.
See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions
How to Make Jamaican Pickled Vegetables (Escovitch Sauce)
Prep Ingredients – slice onions and chayote (chocho), julienne carrots, carefully slice scotch bonnet peppers, pimento seeds, thyme sprigs, and set aside.
Add Ingredients to Jar – in a large sealable glass jar, layer in all the prepped ingredients. Then pour the white vinegar on top until all the vegetables are covered. Seal and place in refrigerator to allow the flavours to intensify and marinate.
Jamaican Pickled Vegetable Recipe Notes & Tips
- Glass and Metal – if using a glass mason jar, ensure you use a metal lid and not plastic.
- Use Gloves – when handling and cutting the scotch bonnet peppers use gloves to prevent burns.
- Back of Fridge – store in the rear of refrigerator to ensure temperatures remain stable when resting.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
The only difference besides one being cooked until tender crisp is the addition of sugar, salt and oil. It also allows for the flavour to be released from the ingredients in the shortest time.
They are essentially the same condiment and the terms used interchangeably. However, dressing is pickled in vinegar and stored in the fridge and sauce is cooked until vegetables tender crisp.
For this method of pickling vegetables, I do not recommend storing at room temperature. There are various reasons, one being the risk of bacteria from improper sterilization of the glass jar prior to adding the escovitch vegetables. Also, once the jar is opened, it would need to be refrigerated – and this is a jar you’ll be going back and forth in! The pickling process for pickling at room temperature has a more intricate process.
Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!
- Jamaican Escovitch Fish
- Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
- Jamaican Rice and Peas
- Jamaican Fried Dumpling
- Jamaican Curry Shrimp (Seafood)
- Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat & Peas (Rice & Peas Remix)
- Jamaican Rasta Pasta
- Quick & Easy Jamaican Jerk Chicken
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Jamaican Pickled Vegetables (Escovitch Sauce)
- 6 White Onions large, sliced
- 2 Carrot large, julienned
- 2 Chayote chocho, large, sliced
- 6 Scotch Bonnet Peppers sliced
- 20 Pimento Seeds allspice berries
- 2 Thyme Sprigs
- 4 cups White Vinegar
- In a large sealable glass jar, layer in all the prepped ingredients – onions, carrots, chayote (chocho), scotch bonnet peppers, pimento seeds and thyme sprigs. Then pour the white vinegar on top until all the vegetables are covered. Seal and place in refrigerator to allow the flavours to intensify and marinate.