The world is a big place and there are a lot of countries that have their own unique fruits, vegetables and cuisines all beginning with the letter “J”. Some of these foods you might have heard of, you may even enjoy eating and cooking them yourself. But chances are there are also some that you’ve never heard of before.
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Many people tend to stick with eating the same foods for most of their lives, never exploring beyond certain national, ethnic, and geographical boundaries. Those folks might be shocked to learn that there are foods so alien to their pallets that they might as well be from a different world.
It's not always easy leaving our comfort zone, but when we take a chance to discover something new, there is always the chance of finding an incredible culinary experience waiting just around the corner. It's not hard to start exploring either. Just pick an ingredient, find a good recipe, then make it.
In this guide, we have compiled together 32 different foods, all beginning with the letter “J”. Some of these foods are healthy ingredients, others are cultural dishes and some are just fun things that we all love to snack on. But if there’s one thing that connects them all, it’s the letter “J”.
For more great food lists check out food that begins with the letter K and food that begins with the letter I.
So if you ever get stopped in the street and asked to name a food beginning with the letter “J”, just remember this handy list and you’ll have an answer at the ready. So let’s dive right in and look at these 33 foods beginning with the letter “J”.
For the first food on our list, we have chosen something that we think most people would have heard of. A jalapeno is a small, green chilli-pepper that can often be found in Mexican cuisine. If you have ever had nachos with all the trimmings, then you’ve probably encountered a jalapeno or two.
When it comes to spice, jalapenos are a hot pepper when consumed. However, they are considered to be a more flavorful and useful pepper than most. Because of their natural and earthy flavor, they are a very popular ingredient and are used often in cooking. When roasted, they can take on a rich and smoky taste.
JingBaiJan is a series of traditional Chinese desserts, which trace their origins back to the Qing imperial kitchen. The cakes are often served in batches of eight, with each cake coming to represent a different meaning: happiness, fertility, luck, success, longevity, wealth, education and excess.
The cakes are made from a sweet pastry that is then moulded into unique shapes and filled with ingredients such as dates, rose, plums, sugar, red bean paste, raisins, banana, pepper and salt.
Found around the world, Jawbreakers are a type of round hard candy that are usually 1-3 cm in diameter. Jawbreakers (also known as Gobstoppers) are made up of hundreds of layers of sugar, which can only be dissolved by sucking on the candy until you reach the centre.
Jawbreakers are full of chemicals and sugar, but they can be a guilty pleasure if you have a sweet tooth.
The jackfruit can be found growing in South Asian countries such as India, where it is known to grow on the jack tree. In appearance, the jackfruit resembles a large melon covered with yellowish-green spikes. Although it is a fruit, jackfruit is used primarily as an ingredient in savory dishes such as curries and stews.
The jackfruit itself is very tasty and is considered to have a pineapple flavor. The texture of the fruit also bears a strong resemblance to pulled pork, which is why jackfruit is often used as a meat substitute in many vegetarian dishes.
This particular dish comes to us from South Africa, where it is a popular favorite of the South African people. Essentially a jaffle is just a toasted sandwich filled with meat and then cooked over a fire in a jaffle iron.
Still considered a staple of South African cuisine, jaffles are now primarily cooked with electric toasters.
6. Jellied Eels
Although the image of an eel suspended in jelly may seem like it sprung from someone’s worst nightmare, they are a popular dish that originated in Britain. The dish itself consists of chopped eels, which have been cooked in a stock and then allowed to cool into a spiced jelly.
Jellied eels are often served cold, with their consistency being surprisingly tender and light. Usually garnished with vinegar and white pepper, jellied eels were once enjoyed at large Victorian events as a casual snack.
Jigarthanda is a cold and creamy drink that is famous in the Indian city of Madurai. Where it is prepared at roadside stalls using a mixture of milk, sarsaparilla syrup, sugar, almond gum and ice cream.
The perfect accompaniment to a hot day under the Indian sun, the drink’s name translates to “cool heart” in English.
Enjoyed by people around the world, Jerky is lean trimmed meat that has been cut into strips and then dried to prevent the meat from expiring. The dried jerky is then seasoned with salt and spices for some added flavor.
Jerky is particularly popular in North America, where it is often enjoyed as a salty and filling snack.
Jam is a spreadable condiment that is enjoyed around the world, where it is usually used for sandwiches, scones, toast and muffins. Jam is also a key ingredient in many cakes and desserts, such as a victoria sponge or jam roll.
Jam is made by crushing and cooking fruit and then adding vast amounts of sugar to sweeten and preserve it. You can make jam from almost any fruit you can think of, although strawberry jam is often considered the most popular.
Jook is a popular breakfast dish found in East Asia, where it is very popular in places such as Hong Kong. Essentially a rice porridge, Jook is traditionally served as a savory dish. However, it can be served in other ways.
If you are feeling sick, it is believed that plain jook and water can make you feel better.
11. Jamaican Ginger Cake
This sticky and aromatic cake first originated in Jamaica, but since then it has become a favorite in places such as Britain. Unfortunately, the cake’s popularity has transformed it into a heavily manufactured product.
The original Jamaican recipe uses ginger and black treacle and is considered a much darker and richer cake than the ones widely sold in the UK.
12. Juniper Berry
Juniper berries are a small purple fruit that is the female seed produced by various species of juniper tree. Although they are known as juniper berries, they are a cone and not a berry at all. They are known to have a light pine flavor with a hint of pepper.
Juniper berries are primarily used to flavor gin, which means you may have tasted them if you enjoy a gin on a hot summer’s day. Juniper berries can also be used as cooking ingredients, to make things like jam.
First created in France, a jesuite is a triangular pastry often filled with frangipane cream and then topped with powdered sugar and flaked almonds. Still served in their original form to this day, jesuite are known to be light and flaky.
The addition of frangipane cream and almonds also help to elevate the flavor of the pastry. Creating a delicious snack that has become a staple of the French patisserie.
14. Jordan Almond
Jordan almonds are a bite-sized sweet that can be found around the world. They consist of skinned almonds coated in a thin layer of sugared candy and are often served as confectionery at weddings and other formal occasions.
Jordan almonds are also known by various other names, including sugared almonds. Dragee and Confetto.
A johnnycake is a type of cornbread often served as a staple food in North America. The cake itself can be made from white or yellow cornmeal and then mixed with water, milk and salt. The cornbread can also be served sweet with the addition of sugar.
The johnnycake itself is often cooked on a griddle and contains leavening agents to assure the sponge reaches a soft and springy rise.
16. Jollof Rice
Jollof Rice is a traditional rice dish found in West African cultures. It is enjoyed in countries such as Senegal, Nigeria, Gambia and Ghana. Jollof rice consists of cooking rice over a wood fire and allowing the rice to burn, which gives it a rich and smoky flavor.
There are many variations of jollof rice across West Africa, although all share the same unique taste that has made it such a popular dish.
Jelly is a dessert that is often known for its vibrant colors and wobbly consistency. It is made by mixing boiling water and fruit juice before adding gelatin to make it solidify into an elastic substance.
Jelly is often served sweet with fruit and ice cream, however, it has also been used to preserve meat and vegetables.
Jell-O is a variation of jelly that is sold in ready-to-use packets in most supermarkets and grocery stores. Usually, Jell-O will either take the form of a powder or of a block of jelly, which then needs to be dissolved in boiling water and left to set in the fridge.
Jell-O is the most widely known brand for instant jelly, however, other well-known brands include Hartleys and Alamgeer.
Jameed is a dish primarily found in the Mediterranean. It is a hard dry laban that is made from goat’s milk which has been kept in a woven cheesecloth to transform it into thick yogurt. Salt is regularly added to the mixture to make it thicken, after a few days the dense substance is then removed from the cheesecloth and shaped into small balls.
Jameed is a key ingredient in the making of mansaf, the national dish of Jordan.
Juice is a drink that is made from squeezing or extracting natural liquid from various fruits and vegetables. This natural liquid is then either bottled or sweetened with sugar and concentrates. Meat is also capable of producing juice when it is being cooked. However, this juice should be primarily used to make reductions or sauces.
Drinking natural fruit juice can be incredibly beneficial for your health, as it can provide your body with vitamins, boost your immune system and remove toxins from your system.
21. Jelly Donut
Who doesn’t love a jelly donut? A jelly donut (also known as a jam donut) is probably one of the most delicious treats on the whole planet. It is essentially a fried, round donut (that means it doesn’t have a hole) that has been filled with either a raspberry or strawberry jelly. Sometimes the donut is also topped with sugar or icing for an extra sweet punch.
There are various jelly donuts around the world, although they are very similar in their making. There’s the American jelly donut, the British jam donut and the decadent German Berliner. Donuts filled with jelly? What’s not to love?
22. Japanese Plum
Japanese plums are small round fruits that commonly grow in Japan. Japanese plums have a sweet and tangy flavor and they are believed to be incredibly beneficial for your body and health.
The Japanese also features as a primary ingredient in Japanese cooking and can be used to make jams, sauces, and even a traditional Japanese wine.
First created in New Orleans, jambalaya is a multicultural dish that utilizes French, Spanish and African cuisine. Jambalaya bears many similarities to dishes such as Jollof and paella.
The dish itself has a long and enriched history, and it has since become a beloved meal by people from the Deep South. It consists of sausage, pork or chicken, and shellfish such as shrimp or crawfish. It is a flavorful dish that packs a punch with a collection of spices, onions and peppers.
24. Jerusalem Artichoke
Despite being called an artichoke, the Jerusalem artichoke is a member of the sunflower family. In appearance, it resembles something like a slim and bobbly potato and has a sweet and nutty flavor when eaten raw.
Because of their potato-like consistency, Jerusalem artichokes are often baked in their skins, which results in a fluffy texture reminiscent of cooked potato. Once cooked, the vegetable takes on a similar flavor to artichoke hearts.
Junket is a milk-based dessert that can trace its origins back to medieval England, where it was served among the royal court. Back then, junket was made from cream that had been sweetened with spices and rosewater. However, it fell from grace in the Tudor era.
Since then, junket has been a popular dessert in America, where it is made using sweetened milk mixed with rennet. The custardy treat is very sweet to taste and deserves to be more popular after its notorious downfall.
26. Jaffa Cake
The jaffa cake is a biscuit-shaped cake that remains incredibly popular in modern Britain. The cake itself consists of a crisp sponge base, topped with orange jelly and dark chocolate.
Named after Jaffa oranges, jaffa cakes can trace their origins back to the 1920s when they were first produced by the biscuit company McVities. And although some people may argue that they are biscuits, they are cakes.
Jostaberries bear a great deal of resemblance to blueberries or raisins and have a sweet flavor that has been likened to blackcurrants and gooseberries. However, the gooseberry flavor is known to be more pronounced when the jostaberry is unripened, while the blackcurrant flavor is more dominant in ripe jostaberries.
The fruit can be found growing in European countries such as Germany and are known to particularly thrive in the late summer. They grow on trees and can be used as ingredients in various recipes. They can also be used to make jams, relishes and desserts.
Jumbles are simple butter cookies, made using flour, sugar, eggs and butter. They are often flavored with vanilla essence, but can also be flavored with caraway or almond extract. Jumbles can be traced back as far as 1907, where they were traditionally shaped into intricate looping patterns. Early jumbles were also traditionally flavored with rosewater.
Although they have existed for many years, jumbles are still incredibly popular in certain countries to this day. Being favored for their basic recipe and rich, buttery flavor. Considered continental foods they complement sponge cake at afternoon tea.
Found growing in the Canadian prairies, juneberries are also known as Saskatoon berries by the Canadian people. They are a small dark-colored berry that grows on trees and they bear a strong resemblance to blackcurrants and blueberries. In terms of their flavor, juneberries taste similarly to dark cherries and are much milder than blueberries in flavor.
Juneberries are highly beneficial for the body for they contain a strong source of iron. They also contain high amounts of magnesium, protein, antioxidants, potassium and calcium.
30. Jam Roly-Poly
Originating in Britain, a jam roly-poly is a steamed pudding that is made using suet that has been layered with raspberry jam. Once complete, the suet is rolled into a tube and then steamed in the oven or baked. The dish has seen a long life in British history and was once a common dessert at family dinners.
A jam roly-poly is sweet and filling and is especially delicious when served with hot custard. However, it can also be enjoyed with cream or ice cream.
The jujube is a small fruit that is also known as a Chinese date. It is known to grow in Southern Asia, but i’s popularity has continued to grow around the globe. The fruit resembles an olive in shape and size, however, unlike olives, it is a bright and vivid red. The fruit contains a single pit or seed at its centre and when ripe often takes on a wrinkled appearance.
The jujube is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants and is believed to clear skin and heal acne. The fruit can also be used as a key ingredient in a variety of recipes, where it is sure to add a new and interesting flavor.
Up next we have jiaozi, a Chinese dumpling that is enjoyed through most of Eastern Asia. The dumpling is often eaten during the Lunar New Year and is eaten year-round in certain Northern provinces. The dumpling itself usually consists of meat and vegetables wrapped in a thin piece of translucent dough, which is then sealed at the edges.
Jiaozi have grown very popular beyond Asia and can be found in a vast majority of Western countries. The name “jiaozi” derives from the Chinese word for horn.
Julep is an alcoholic cocktail that is primarily made from a concoction of bourbon, mint, sugar, water and crushed ice.
Originating in the American South, Juleps are traditionally served in tall glasses and can be accompanied by a spirit, wine or liqueur. It is even possible to buy specially-made julep cups that are made from tin, but a normal glass is also acceptable.
We left off Jicama, jimmies, creole jambalaya, and jellied eel in the interest of time.
Foods That Start With J: Our list of 32
Use in or with your favorite recipe.
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