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Jamaican Cow Foot Jelly
A Forgotten Jamaican Dessert

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Jamaican Cow Foot Jelly

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

I didn’t think at my age, I could still find out more about Jamaican traditional dishes and recipes. I thought I knew it all! I was wrong because I was recently introduced to Jamaican Cow Foot Jelly.

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Actually, one of our readers, Sandee, sent in a request for this recipe. She said her grandmother made it for her father every week. So, of course, I had to ask my mother about this one. It was quite a delicacy back in the day.

For those who don’t know cow foot, it is just that, the hooves of the cow. It is known for its collagen content, which can contribute to joint and skin health. We have it quite frequently here. Cow Foot and Beans is a popular dish here, which most locals enjoy.

But, this Cow foot Jelly, I have never tried before. I am excited to try this recipe though, and I am happy to share it with you. It is a dessert item and, like most, jelly or jello, can be paired with ice cream.

Jamaican Cow Foot Jelly Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 2lbs Cow foot
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Vanilla
  • Almond extract
  • Ground nutmeg
  • White rum
  • Condensed milk
  • Syrup

PROCEDURE

  1. The first step to this process, some might consider quite controversial - washing the cow's foot. Yes, I know some of you may be against washing meat, but it’s crucial in this case. First, you'll wash your cow foot pieces under running water, then add them to a bowl.

  2. Fill the bowl with water and add a generous amount of vinegar and salt. Set it aside, and leave it for at least overnight.

  3. The next day, you will notice that the texture of the meat has changed. So, under cold running water, wash the meat thoroughly until all the almost slimy matter is gone, leaving you with pristine white and clean cow foot.

  4. This is the easy part. Simply add the cow foot to a pot of water on the stove. You will have to eyeball it a little, but 3 to 4 cups of water should be enough. Allow to cook for about an hour and a half on medium heat, or until the meat is super soft and tender.

  5. Now, to the fun stuff, actually making the jelly. Since your cow foot is cooked, scoop it out and toss it aside. You can also save it for other uses later on, but when it comes to making the jelly, the cow foot’s job is complete. All we will need now is the water left back in the pot. You will notice that the water is very cloudy and has a layer of fat on top. Our next step is to get rid of the fat.

  6. Grab a second bowl, strainer and a piece of cheesecloth. Place the cheesecloth in the strainer, then pour the liquid from the pot through them both. Go slowly and avoid moving the cheesecloth or the liquid being poured. We do not want to get any of the fat in the bowl.

  7. Once that is done, it is time to add all the flavourings. Add some rum, cinnamon powder, vanilla, almond extract, nutmeg and ginger powder. Sweeten with condensed milk. I know you might be wondering if you can just use sugar, but the answer is no. You can only use condensed milk.

  8. Now, we need to add some colour, and that’s where your syrup comes in. Add the syrup and mix it all. As a substitute, you can use a few drops of any food colouring of your choice.

  9. Pour the mixture into a glass container (small glass cups or mason jars work just fine), and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. The longer, the better, so if you can resist for 24 hours, please do.

As I mentioned above, you can have this on its own or with ice cream; I recommend grape nut flavour.

So there you have it, the Jamaican Cow foot jelly recipe. You now have a new recipe to add to your collection of Jamaican recipes. Give it a try and tell us how you like it.

Speaking of recipes, have you checked out our ebook, Jamaican Sweet Treats? If you liked this recipe, I am 100% sure you’ll love the recipes in this book. Grab yourself a copy and give the recipes a try.

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References & Sources For Jamaican Cow Foot Jelly

  1. Statcare (2023) Is cow feet healthy? Benefits, risks, and nutritional value, Statcare. Available at: https://statcarewalkin.com/info/is-cow-feet-healthy-benefits-risks-nutritional-value.html#:~:text=Collagen%3A%20Cow%20feet%20are%20an,growth%2C%20repair%2C%20and%20maintenance (Accessed: 25 January 2024).
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