Yummy traditional Juneteenth food ideas and recipes to celebrate a symbolic day in the history of Blacks in America. These drinks, main courses, desserts, and side dishes are brimming with heritage, symbolism, and deep deep meaning as well as an appreciation of a movement; an era. These recipes are not just inspiring, healthy and wholesome but they stir up emotions and paint pictures.
Why Is Juneteenth Food Red?
Bright red food became an important fixture in Juneteenth food, recipes, and celebrations. Common red foods for Juneteenth include red soda or lemonade, red velvet cake, and watermelon. (Plus barbecue and great sides.)
History offers several explanations for the idea. These reasons include:
- In Yoruba and Kongo culture, red symbolizes spiritual power
- Remembrance of African ancestors lured with red cloth by slave trappers, since red cloth was used in spiritual practices
- Symbolism for the blood of enslaved ancestors
- Red drinks call to mind traditional West African drinks made from ruby red hibiscus flowers and kola nuts.
Have fun trying them out!
Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca
Strawberry watermelon agua fresca makes an incredibly simple, yet somehow special, summer drink. Requiring little more than berries, watermelon, water, and a squirt of lime juice, agua fresca tastes light and sweet, without the complication of a big, multi-ingredient smoothie. To give it an added nutritional twist, add a few drops of Herbal Goodness Vitamin B12
- 4 cups cubed watermelon, from 1/4 of a large watermelon
- 1-pint strawberries, hulled
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 cups cold water
- Herbal Goodness Vitamin B12 Methyl Extract Liquid
- sweetener of choice (optional)
- Blend the strawberries, watermelon, water, and lime juice until very smooth. Taste. If necessary, add a pinch of salt, a few drops of your Herbal Goodness Vitamin B12 Methyl Extract Liquid, and a teaspoon or so of sugar, agave, or the stevia equivalent.
- Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher. Pour into glasses, garnish with fruit if desired, and serve immediately.
P.s: Make sure you use a nice, ripe seasonal watermelon, or else the agua fresca will have a bland flavor and require sugar to bump up the flavor. Small strawberries are better than the giant supermarket ones that are pumped full of water. Make sure your ingredients are cold when you start. Use chilled melon and ice water. Adding ice cubes is acceptable, but will dilute the fresh berry-watermelon flavor as they melt.
Easy Red Cabbage Slaw
This easy red cabbage salad recipe (or slaw, if you like) tastes crunchy and bright and comes together in minutes.
- 1 head red cabbage, shredded (about 4 to 6 cups)
- 4 medium carrots, washed and peeled
- 1 large shallot, diced fine
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey (or sugar if you like)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon French grain mustard
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon caraway seed
- 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 12 turns fresh-cracked black pepper
- 2 scallions, green and light green parts, sliced very thin (optional)
- Prepare the cabbage: Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and discard. Slice the cabbage in half lengthwise through the stump. Place each half face-down on a cutting board and slice very thin. Place the slices in a large mixing bowl, breaking up the dense leaves with your hands.
- For the carrots: Wash, then peel the tough outer layer from each carrot and discard. Continue to peel the carrots all the way down to nubs, creating lots of long carrot ribbons. Add them to the cabbage.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the shallot, vinegar, honey or sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking, until the dressing emulsifies.
- Add about half the dressing to the slaw and toss, along with most of the scallions. Taste for seasoning and add more dressing as necessary. Garnish with the reserved scallions.
- This red cabbage slaw will keep for up to two days, dressed, covered in the refrigerator. Toss again before serving.
Soul Food Collard Greens
Southern, soul food collard greens with smoked turkey legs. Simmered with onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and smoked turkey for a robust flavor.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small white onion finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 large smoked turkey leg fully cooked
- 32 oz. collard greens thoroughly washed and cut into strips.
- salt & pepper
- hot sauce
- In a large deep skillet or pot, heat olive oil on medium heat.
- Add in onions and cook until tender.
- Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add chicken broth, red pepper flakes, and smoked turkey.
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
- Cover and boil lightly for about 20-30 minutes.
- Remove turkey leg and let cool.
- Remove meat from the bone and cut it down into bite-size pieces.
- Return meat and skin to the pot.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add collard greens to the pot, pushing them down if needed.
- When greens begin to wilt down, cover and simmer for up to 60 minutes or until your desired texture is reached, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt and pepper if desired.
- Plate the greens and pour on a few drops of hot sauce.
- Serve hot.
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Iced Tea)
Agua de Jamaica (aka Hibiscus Iced Tea) is an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers. Popular at Mexican taquerias, this agua fresca is loaded with Vitamin C and is great support for heart health.
- 2 quarts water
- 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you would like it to be)
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 1/2 cinnamon stick (optional)
- A few thin slices of ginger (optional)
- Herbal Goodness Graviola leaf extract liquid
- Lime juice (optional)
- Orange or lime slices for garnish
Boil water with sugar and spices:
Put 4 cups of water and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Add cinnamon, ginger slices, and/or a few allspice berries if you would like. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved.
Steep with dried hibiscus flowers:
Remove from heat. Stir in the dried hibiscus flowers. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.
Strain into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon. (At this point you can store ahead of the concentrate, chilled, until ready to make the drink.)
Add the remaining 4 cups of water (or if you want to chill the drink quickly, ice and water) to the concentrate, and chill.
Alternatively, you can add ice and chilled soda water for a bubbly version.
Add a few drops of Herbal Goodness Graviola leaf extract liquid as an immune boost
Add a little lime juice for a more punch-like flavor.
Serve over ice with a slice of orange or lime.
- www.unpeeledjournal.com. Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca. Accessed on June 28, 2021.
- www.unpeeledjournal.com. Juneteenth Food Ideas and Recipes to Celebrate. Accessed on June 28, 2021.
- www.simplyrecipes.com. Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Iced Tea). Accessed on February 5, 2021.